Appropriations Democrats call for full Amtrak funding in wake of Philadelphia crash
Appropriations Democrats, led by Philadelphia Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Rep. David Price (D-NC), Ranking Democrat of the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) Subcommittee, and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Democrat of the Appropriations Committee, today offered an amendment during full Committee markup of the 2016 T-HUD bill to provide Amtrak the full $2.45 billion in funding requested in President Obama’s budget.
“Every day, tens of thousands of passengers travel our nation’s railways on Amtrak—a majority of those along the Northeast Corridor where yesterday’s tragic accident occurred,” said Congressman Fattah, who represents Philadelphia. “These riders deserve safe, secure, and modern infrastructure. While it’s too early to speculate on the cause of last night’s derailment, ensuring safety and reliability on our railways requires substantial investment in Amtrak and it is imperative we continue to prioritize our country’s investment in transportation infrastructure.”
"Yesterday's tragedy in Philadelphia should be a wake-up call to this Committee – we must provide sufficient funding for Amtrak’s critical infrastructure projects to ensure a safer transportation system," said Ranking Member Price (D-NC). "The majority’s shortsighted, draconian budget cuts stand in the way of the investments that a great country must make."
"It is deeply troubling that my Republican colleagues defeated an amendment to fully fund Amtrak just hours after this tragic rail crash,” said Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY). “While we do not yet know the exact cause of yesterday’s accident in Philadelphia, we do know that starving Amtrak of funding will inhibit safety upgrades, training, and capital improvements. Our continued failure to invest in road and rail infrastructure is not just unwise – it is plainly a public safety hazard."
The tragic Amtrak crash in Philadelphia took place just hours before the Appropriations Committee began its markup of the 2016 T-HUD bill, which would provide a mere $1.14 billion for Amtrak, which is $251 million less than the 2015 enacted level and $1.31 billion less than the President’s budget request, causing Amtrak to defer critical maintenance and capital investment.
The amendment failed by a vote of 21-30.