NARP Thanks House Members for Defeating Amendments to Cut Amtrak Funding

Release #15-12

For Immediate Release (#15-12) Contact: Benet J. Wilson

June 4, 2015 202-408-8362, ext. 3203

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Association of Railroad Passengers applauded the resounding defeat of two anti-train amendments offered by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) in today’s voting on the fiscal year 2016 Transportation, Housing & Urban Development appropriations bill. The amendments sought to eliminate Amtrak’s operating and capital grants, respectively—a move that would have killed passenger train service in this country as we know it for tens of millions of Americans—as well as threatened commuter service that scores of millions of commuters rely on to get to work every single day.

"It's clear that a small group of die-hard House members didn't get the memo," said NARP President & CEO Jim Mathews. "Americans have repeatedly and consistently voted in favor of rail, transit and mobility at the ballot box and with their wallets, setting Amtrak ridership records year after year. Thankfully, most members confronted with moves to de-fund Amtrak—money that would, in part, be used to finish installing critical safety improvements—refused to take the bait.

"With lawmakers voting nearly two-to-one against eliminating Amtrak's operating grant, and more than two-to-one against emptying out the funds Amtrak uses for infrastructure upgrades and safety improvements, sensible lawmakers sent a message that they're taking their cues from their constituents back home instead of destructive colleagues on the House floor.

“I’d particularly like to thank our members for rallying to support the cause of passenger trains in the U.S. Congress needs to hear from the hundreds of communities across the U.S. for which these trains represent a vital economic and social link. Unfortunately, with the House set to look at more amendments on June 9, our members' work isn’t done.”

The House is set to consider two amendments offered by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) targeting the Sunset Limited and the National Network trains, respectively. It will also consider two amendments submitted by Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) targeted at slowing the progress of All Aboard Florida, a private sector-led project that will develop higher-speed service between Orlando and Miami.

Even before the amendments, the House FY 2016 T-HUD bill slashed Amtrak funding by $262 million, transit funding by $161 million, and funding for the intermodal TIGER grant program by $400 million. NARP is working with Senate appropriators to improve the funding figures for trains and transit, necessary to address the hundreds of billions of dollars in capital upgrade and repair backlogs facing our nation’s rail system—the result of decades of underinvestment.

About the National Association of Railroad Passengers

NARP is the only national organization speaking for the users of passenger trains and rail transit. We have worked since 1967 to expand the quality and quantity of passenger rail in the U.S. Our mission is to work towards a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. Our work is supported by more than 28,000 individual members nationwide.