“I’m not sure where the source comes from that I’m hostile to Amtrak … simply because I voted no on some funding votes.” – Todd Rokita, July 24, 2019
That was the response former Congressman Todd Rokita gave to lawmakers when they questioned why he repeatedly voted to defund Amtrak, our national passenger rail network, during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing earlier this week.
Rokita was nominated by President Trump to serve on Amtrak’s Board of Directors, yet while in office, he voted nine times to deny Amtrak the critical funding it needs. In fact, just last Congress Rokita threw his support behind an amendment that sought to defund the carrier altogether.
If that’s not hostile, we don’t know what is.
Given his abysmal record, lawmakers, frontline workers, and those who depend on Amtrak would be foolish not to question Rokita’s agenda should he be confirmed by the Senate. After all, members of Amtrak’s Board of Directors should, at a minimum, demonstrate a clear commitment to our national passenger rail system, and its dedicated, frontline workforce.
Defunding Amtrak or eliminating long-distance routes – all proposals Rokita has supported – go against Amtrak’s mission and purpose and would spell disaster for travelers, working families, and communities across our country who depend on this carrier and its services.