Some pretty important stuff going on in the national transit policy arena of late. The most important development was that the Senate passed S.294, which provides Amtrak $11.4 billion over the next 6 years. And why not? With gas prices at an all time high, the highway system going bankrupt, global warming concerns, and record Amtrak ridership, they deserve to stop being treated like the red-headed stepchild.
The Wall Street Journal had a good roundup…
Momentum is growing in Congress to bolster Amtrak and help states expand rail service as lawmakers grow concerned over global warming, transportation gridlock and high oil prices.
In what may signal a reversal of fortune for the nation’s intercity passenger-rail network, the Senate yesterday approved a six-year, $11.4 billion bill that would authorize nearly $2 billion a year in Amtrak funding, up from roughly $1.3 billion now. The measure passed by a 70-22 vote.
•The Bill: The Senate passed legislation boosting Amtrak funding, as passenger rail is seen as part of the solution for global warming, traffic congestion and high oil prices.
•The Shift: The bill changes the Amtrak debate by setting a goal for the passenger railroad to improve train service rather than to achieve financial self-sufficiency.
•What’s Next: The House is expected to consider an Amtrak bill early next year.
As part of the same bill, and perhaps more important to Central Ohioans, the Senate approved a $1.4 billion fund for matching grants to states that want to sponsor passenger trains. Programs like these are crucial for the future of the Ohio Hub plan.
If you notice that “What’s Next” section in the WSJ article…well that’s where we all come in. You see, despite how detached we all feel from the political process, our Representatives technically represent our interests. Mind blowing stuff, I know!
Here’s a LINK to Congresswoman Pryce’s website, here’s a LINK for Congressman Space’s site, here’s a LINK to Congressman Hobson’s, and here’s a LINK to Congressman Tiberi’s site. So take one minute and thirty seconds out of your busy day to tell your Representative that they need to represent your interests by supporting the House companion bill to Senate Bill 291 and that you want more transportation options like the Ohio Hub.