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Author Topic: Good news for Amtrak?
Southwest Chief
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I don't want to get too excited, but the funding Amtrak deserves might finally be coming.

News Link

I'm kind of surprised this hasn't been posted here yet. Found the article in the Wall Street Journal this morning and then searched tonight for a link to post.

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Posts: 579 | From: San Bernardino Subdivison | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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It passed with more than enough votes to make it veto-proof--i.e., if the president vetoes it, which he might do, there are enough votes to override. However, that would be a very very bad time for Amtrak employees to be talking about a strike, as they are now apparently. I hope they arbitrate soon!

I was interested to see that Bennett, Republican of Utah, supported the bill. He was one of the pols who spoke vehemently against Amtrak a few years back--so badly I cancelled a stop in Salt Lake City because of it! I phoned his office and told him, too, so maybe that is why he changed his vote hahaha.

I was also interested to see that both Tennessee senators, who are both Republican, voted for it--when there is no Amtrak in Tennessee! [corrected below; I was thinking of eastern Tennessee, sorry about that1] I [still] hope this means they are trying to get it back [in eastern/central TN]. This trip I'm making soon to Nashville with the bus from Atlanta is a real bummer; how I wish I could have a way to go all the way by train.

No seriously, here are the votes--note that the Dem presidential candidates, who all support it, did not vote because when the vote was called, they were away preparing for that Dem debate and knew there were enough votes to pass and they wouldn't be needed. But McCain, who also did not vote and presumably was off campaigning, was very anti-Amtrak in the past; I don't know his present position, nor that of Sessions. Perhaps McCain was intentionally weaseling because he doesn't want it to become a campaign issue? Does anyone know his current position on Amtrak? I also don't know why Wyden missed the vote but I believe he is in favor.

Now is a good time to phone and complain to Nay voters and phone with votes of support to Aye voters, esp Republicans who will have to brave the storms of pressure from the White House if there is a vote to override. You do not have to be a constituent to get involved--you can be a visitor or prospective visitor to the state who wants to come by Amtrak! And writing to local newspaper in that state would be another great idea, that can put a lot of pressure on politicians.

Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Alexander (R-TN), Yea
Allard (R-CO), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Biden (D-DE), Not Voting [but a big supporter]
Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
Bond (R-MO), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Yea

Brownback (R-KS), Nay [someone whom it might be worth phoning; note that the other Republican senator from Kansas voted for the Amtrak bill]

Bunning (R-KY), Nay [this is one for whom it might be very useful to call his vote to public attention; Kentucky will not be so reliably Republican in future elections and they sure could use a train reinstatement]

Burr (R-NC), Nay [this is amazing; note that Elizabeth Dole, in a tight senate race, voted for it; methinks this Burr is someone it would really pay to put pressure on]

Byrd (D-WV), Yea
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay [these bozos on GA are really irritating; they do so little in general in prep for their states over-growth--and the same is true in AZ and NV if you ask me]
Clinton (D-NY), Not Voting [but supports]
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Coleman (R-MN), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Yea
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
Craig (R-ID), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Yea
DeMint (R-SC), Nay [another one it might pay to pressure on]
Dodd (D-CT), Not Voting [but supports]
Dole (R-NC), Yea
Domenici (R-NM), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea

Ensign (R-NV), Nay [this is one who needs to be put in the spotlight for his vote; it's ridiculous there is no train to Las Vegas; and Nevada is not so reliably Republican any more, so he'd better watch out]

Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Nay [another one it might pay to put pressure on; I think he has a primary race coming up too, doesn't he?]
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Nay
Hagel (R-NE), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Not Voting [but supports]
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Nay [see my comment re Chambliss above]
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kennedy (D-MA), Yea
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Nay [another huge irritation against whom a newspaper campaign might really pay; it's ridiculous having a train just 3 days a week in Tucson and NONE in Phoenix; and Flagstaff is a real rr town]
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea [she is the most heavily endangered Democrat up for reelection, so support in the newspapers could be helpful; notice the Republican from Louisiana voted AGAINST it, the putz]
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lott (R-MS), Yea [the biggest Republican supporter of Amtrak; folks might want to phone him with a vote of support; and also find out when the Sunset Ltd is coming back to MS!!!]
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Martinez (R-FL), Yea [this is good news; maybe he needs some moral support]
McCain (R-AZ), Not Voting [has not supported in the past]
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea

McConnell (R-KY), Nay [folks might want to make some noise in the local paper about this one; he is up for reelection and that election is tightening]

Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea [this is another surprise! Is there some Alaska RR funding in the bill too?]
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Obama (D-IL), Not Voting [but supports]
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Yea [good news! but why did Brownback vote against it?]
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Not Voting [don't know his position]
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Smith (R-OR), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Stevens (R-AK), Yea [same comment as for Murkowski]
Sununu (R-NH), Nay
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Nay

Vitter (R-LA), Nay [another one for whom some noise might be very useful; he is in trouble for other reasons and it's really disgraceful that he doesn't support Amtrak; you'll note all his neighbors, including Republicans, do]

Voinovich (R-OH), Nay [this is another about whose vote I hope there is a lot of noise]

Warner (R-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Not Voting [not sure why he was away but I believe he is a supporter]

Posts: 2630 | From: upstate New York | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Geoff Mayo
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Originally posted by sojourner:
I was also interested to see that both Tennessee senators, who are both Republican, voted for it--when there is no Amtrak in Tennessee! I hope this means they are trying to get it back. This trip I'm making soon to Nashville with the bus from Atlanta is a real bummer; how I wish I could have a way to go all the way by train.

There IS Amtrak service through Tennessee - the City of New Orleans through Memphis, though I agree that Nashville and/or eastern TN routes would be nice.

Geoff M.

Geoff M.

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Notice that in many cases the "nays" seem to be saying "Amtrak doesn't well serve my state" or "Amtrak doesn't serve important parts of my state" with service that is 100% Amtrak-funded.

As for "not voting", sometimes staff, knowing their boss will be absent, will obtain a "not voting" from a member on the other side of that issue where that issue is not strongly felt or where that member does not need to be conspicuous on the issue.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Here is reportage from The Times of the Senate's action:


And here, volks, is a key brief passage:

The authorization does not guarantee that Amtrak will receive all the money, which would have to be included in annual budget bills. But it makes it less likely that Amtrak will face cuts in its subsidy and that passengers will face cuts in service

But I will acknowledge that this legislation, if enacted, will put any future Administrations and Congress' on notice that it is national policy there be rail passenger service and that rail passenger service will be national in scope.

Either a Clinton or a Guiliani administration, whichever the case is to be, could well be interested in the development of Corridors, but not necessarily funded at local level as has been the thrust of the incumbent. However, LD advocates could have, again if enacted, legislation to wave about saying "don't forget us".

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Senator Dole has made much of being from Salisbury, NC.......a city served by 6 daily Amtrak trains at a wonderfully renovated depot. And just down the road from the North Carolina Transportation Museum. Sen. Dole has constituants who are benefitting directly from rail passenger service.

Senator Burr on the other hand is one we'll be working on. We've got him in 2010 so some efforts in his direction might be worthwhile.

David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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When she was Secretary of Transportation, didn't Elizabeth Dole have a role in the renovation of Union Station? It seems like she did, but I can't remember for sure.
Posts: 100 | From: Kernersville, NC | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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