CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.Res. 1301 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Wednesday, May 5, 2010, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) on April 27, 2010.
H.Res. 1301 would resolve that the House of Representatives:
• "Recognizes the contribution trains make to the national transportation system;
• "Urges the people of the United States to recognize such a day as an opportunity to learn more about trains; and
• "Supports the goals and ideals of National Train Day as designated by Amtrak."
According to the resolution's findings, Amtrak has designated May 8, 2010, as National Train Day to celebrate the way trains connect people and places. Member's may be concerned with a number of the resolution's findings, including assertions that "national high-speed and intercity passenger rail ready-to-go and future projects will revitalize the domestic manufacturing industry and create additional jobs" and "Amtrak trains and infrastructure carry intercity passengers and commuters to and from work in congested metropolitan areas, providing a reliable rail option while reducing congestion on roads and in the skies."
Amtrak is a program that has repeatedly failed to be competitive and continues to need federal subsidies to cover operating losses and capital costs. For instance, Amtrak lost an average of $32 per passenger in 2008. The so-called "stimulus" bill contained $1.3 billion for Amtrak and the FY 2010 omnibus contained an additional $1.5 billion in funding to supplement the losses of the government-supported transit company. However, some Members may be concerned that while funding is consistently increased, measures to make Amtrak more cost efficient are often ignored. Last year, for instance, a House amendment prohibiting Amtrak funds from being used to provide free alcohol was even stripped out of the FY 2010 omnibus.