Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Senators Lautenberg and Lott file a great bill -- get your Senator to co-sponsor now

The National Association of Rail Passengers (www.narprail.org) has the scoop: the best federal bill for passenger rail in a decade has been filed in the new Congress. It's S. 294, sponsored by Frank Lautenberg (New Jersey) and Trent Lott (Mississippi), and it would end the practice of treating rail like a fourth-class transportation investment by creating a federal match for state capital investments. Detailed provisions of the bill are here.

Here are the comments by the Senators at their press conference today at Washington's Union Station, including these choice remarks:

Senator Lautenberg: This is neither a partisan issue nor a regional one. We have a chance to get Amtrak back on track...The future of Amtrak is looking bright...Congress is ready to pass a bill to revitalize Amtrak...This year it's not going to be that difficult to get the bill passed. I am the chairman of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine. This bill is my top priority.

Our aviation system is getting more and more congested. When I fly to my state, I spend more time on the tarmac than in the air...Even Estonia spends more than twice per capita what we spend on passenger rail.

Senator Lott: There are some things in Washington that are truly bipartisan. I believe that’s true for rail--both passenger and freight. This used to be the Lott-Lautenberg bill. Now it’s Lautenberg-Lott. We never miss a step. We’re going forward...There are limits to how many lanes we can build, how many planes we can fly.


Call your Senator and ask him or her to co-sponsor S. 294.

And perhaps more importantly, call your Representative and ask him or her to support the provisions of S. 294 in the House. The bill has passed the Senate before, but never been called for a vote in the House.

We'll list the Senate co-sponsors on this blog as they come in, as well as the House sponsors of their bill.

This is the best way to move forward on making real investments in passenger rail -- laying more track, building new bridges and relieving the freight congestion that slows down Amtrak service. It's time to modernize our rail network. Thanks to Senators Lott and Lautenberg for taking the lead on making our rail network more of a priority.


Blogger Steven Reed said...

Time for Passenger Rail Service

In 1990 I started an effort to get Passenger Rail Service to southwest Missouri and across the state. During my time at (School) College of the Ozarks they helped some on the effort. After graduation I worked on several attempts to place it on the state ballot. People support the effort all across the state but it is impossible to put an issue on the state ballot unless you have over $100,000 to spend. After 17 years I have 15 boxes of contacts and names of people who want such service. So I am running for Mayor of Springfield and people can find out more about the rail issue by going to www.reedforcouncil.com

MODOT announced last summer that they want such service to help with traffic relief on I-44. They are also lobbying the legislature at this time for help with funding. Such service is wanted and would benefit the downtowns of St. Louis, Rolla, Lebanon, Springfield, and maybe Branson. People all across the state want it but we have no organized lobbying group for such rail service. It is critical people speak out now. Write letters to your local newspapers call your representatives and yell from the tallest mountain!

Steven Reed
1441 S. Estate Ave.
Springfield, MO

12:29 AM  

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