SUPPORT THE PRICE AMENDMENT TO MAINTAIN AMTRAK FUNDING
On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, I urge you to vote for the Price Amendment to the Transportation-HUD appropriations bill that would restore funding for Amtrak to fiscal year 2013 levels. If this amendment is not adopted, the safety and efficiency of the rail system will be threatened and middle-class jobs will be at risk at a time when Amtrak is more popular and self-sufficient than ever.
Last week, the House Transportation-HUD Subcommittee approved a funding bill that provides $950 million for Amtrak. It appropriates $600 million for capital and debt service, or 34 percent below the fiscal year 2013 post-sequester level. The operating account is funded at $350 million, a 21 percent cut post-sequester. Today, when Amtrak is setting ridership records year after year, we should increase our investment in passenger rail rather than making drastic and irresponsible cuts.
Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman has publicly stated that these cuts pose a significant risk to the carrier’s ability to operate safely and provide current services. Amtrak’s ability to maintain track and equipment would be threatened and would require “slow orders” to continue to operate passenger rail safely. Cutting the appropriation by 30 percent is likely to cause the elimination of one or more routes, threatening the economic well-being of hundreds of communities around the country that depend on Amtrak. Finally, these cuts will require Amtrak to layoff hundreds of workers during an era of slow economic growth when good jobs are difficult to find.
Please take a stand against these dangerous cuts to Amtrak’s funding and support the Price Amendment when it is considered in the Appropriations Committee tomorrow.