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Statement of Ross B. Capon
Executive Director , National Association of Railroad Passengers
On Senate Passage of Amtrak Reauthorization
October 30, 2007
“NARP is pleased that the Senate passed S.294. The veto-proof margin of the vote (70-22, 8 Senators not voting) shows the strong, bipartisan, nation-wide support for passenger rail service in this county.
“The importance of passenger rail will only increase as the price of oil pushes towards $100 a barrel, increasing the cost of gas and making cheap airline flights a memory. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), one of the authors of this legislation, also noted on the Senate floor today that congestion on both highways and aviation make investment in passenger rail essential.
“We are appreciative of the efforts of Lautenberg and the bill’s other sponsor, Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) to press Senate leadership for floor time for the consideration of this bill. They also led the floor debate in an eloquent and knowledgeable manner, staunchly defending the entire Amtrak network--both short distance and long distance rail service--against several destructive amendments which would have dismantled the national network.
“We trust that the leadership in the House of Representatives will hear the message that this strong, pro-Amtrak vote sends and draft companion legislation for passage in that body as soon as possible.”
With more than 23,000 individual members, NARP is the largest national membership advocacy organization for train and rail transit passengers, and has worked since 1967 to expand the quality and quantity of passenger rail in the U.S. Its mission is to work towards a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. In June, NARP unveiled a proposal to expand and modernize the country’s intercity rail system, helping to reduce both the nation’s carbon emissions and its dependence on oil, and facilitating the efficient movement of people and goods.