Rail Advocate: Biden Ascension Wouldn’t Necessarily Help Amtrak

1413945294_468a463930.jpgThe Washington Post today has a piece summing up Joe Biden’s ties to Amtrak. There’s not a lot of new material in the story (Biden takes the train between Delaware and DC, he has a pro-rail record in the Senate, his son serves on the Amtrak board, etc.), but what caught our attention was a quote from David Johnson of the National Association of Railroad Passengers.

Johnson said an Obama-Biden victory wouldn’t necessarily translate into an avalanche of federal funds for Amtrak. He noted that Al Gore was a big booster of passenger rail when he was in Congress "and yet some of the biggest cuts in service came during the Clinton-Gore administration." 

In 2000, President Bill Clinton proposed a $989 million funding package for Amtrak. According to the Post, the FY 2008 Amtrak allocation was around $1.3 billion.

Photo: relvax/Flickr

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Obama Builds Rail Cred With Biden Pick

|
Barack Obama’s standing as an advocate for investment in US commuter rail looks to have gotten a boost with his selection of Joe Biden as his running mate. Whereas John McCain is the Senate’s sworn enemy of Amtrak, his colleague from Delaware is known as a "Champion of the Rails." Notes Daily Kos diarist MissLaura […]
STREETSBLOG USA

What Would Meaningful Amtrak Reform Look Like?

|
For the past two years, Amtrak has been under constant attack from House Transportation Committee Chair John Mica (R-FL), who has used his gavel to bully the rail company. He likes to call it a “Soviet-style” monopoly and he goads it for losing money on everything from long-distance routes to food service. His vitriolic diatribes […]
STREETSBLOG USA

The Northeast Corridor: To Privatize or Not to Privatize?

|
Gaps in state and local budgets, new federal investments in rail improvements, and growing expertise in public-private partnerships have all combined to make the present moment an intriguing time for private-sector investment in passenger rail. Andy Kunz of the US High Speed Rail Association has said he supports private sector operating agreements on publicly-owned rail […]

Is America Finally Getting Interested in Passenger Rail?

|
  Despite fierce and prevalent Amtrak hating, and although I have yet to hear any presidential candidate discuss it, nationally syndicated columnist Neal Peirce suggests that "the stars are finally coming into alignment" for improvements of America’s passenger rail system. He writes: America’s train advocates are mildly optimistic. And for some good reasons. Amtrak is […]

Urge Congress to Support Amtrak and Passenger Rail

|
Here’s a great way to support transit before we head in to another traffic-snarled Memorial Day weekend. H.R. 6003, the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, is currently in need of co-sponsors in the House (a version has already passed the Senate). The bill "authorizes Amtrak for the five years Fiscal 2008-2012, provides for capital […]