Hotline #696-A

During a conference meeting last night, the language in the Senate surface transportation bill that included intercity passenger rail as an eligible program in the flexible account of the Highway Trust Fund was eliminated. Reportedly, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D.-N.J.) made a brave defense of intercity passenger rail, but could not convince the Chairman of the House Public Works Committee, Robert Roe (D.-N.J.). Normally, intercity passenger rail -- which is Amtrak -- falls under House Energy and Commerce. But Roe, like many on the House Public Works Committee, is jealous of the programs he controls and is afraid of mingling programs with Energy and Commerce. This was not a problem in the Senate, but in the House this turf battle is being won by Public Works, and the losers are supporters of balanced transportation.

All NARP members should call their House delegation immediately and protest this move by Chairman Roe. Call whether your Representative is a conferee or not. Tell them you are very upset that House Public Works will not include Amtrak in the surface transportation bill, as the Senate had tried to do, and that the Amtrak language should be restored immediately.