TTD: Congress should endorse Amtrak funding

Published: February 17, 2016

Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issued the following statement in response to Amtrak’s 2017 General and Legislative Annual Report:

             Wytkind

“Amtrak has submitted a funding request for FY2017 that gives our national passenger railroad and its employees a chance to deliver faster and more reliable train service. Amtrak faces a backlog of major investments that are needed to propel its service and equipment to a new level. This includes safety and capacity upgrades such as the Gateway project between New York and New Jersey, which features century-old tunnels and severely eroded bridges that need major refurbishment or replacement. And as Amtrak seeks to overcome its major infrastructure challenges, the company’s front-line employees must be treated and compensated fairly for their work to keep the national system running successfully.

“When Congress included a long-term reauthorization of Amtrak funding in the recently enacted surface transportation legislation, the FAST Act, lawmakers wisely chose to provide Amtrak with funding certainty and stability and rejected privatization and outsourcing mandates. Congress must now invest in our chronically underfunded national passenger rail network by appropriating federal resources consistent with Amtrak’s FY 2017 funding request.

“Amtrak is a vital transportation link for millions of people across the country who are clamoring for more service, as evidenced by more than two years of polling in both red and blue states showing pent-up demand regardless of political affiliation or ideology. We urge Congress to listen to the voters and boost Amtrak funding in the upcoming appropriations legislation.”