Thursday, October 25, 2007

URGENT: S. B. 294 - Amtrak Reauthorization on Senate Floor Today!

Forwarded message from All Aboard Ohio:

Dear Supporter of Passenger Rail,

This important peice of legislation has come up to the Senate on such short notice that I have copied the information verbatum from Ross Capon, Executive Director of the National Association of Railroad Passengers. Please read the update on Senate Bill 294 below and email or call your Senator today.

Contact information for your Senator can be found here:

Andrew Bremer
All Aboard Ohio


The Amtrak reauthorization bill came up on the Senate floor late yesterday. It will be on the floor today (Thursday) and possibly tomorrow and beyond. Debate today begins at 10:30 AM and a vote is planned for 12:30 PM on a Sununu amendment which could be the first of many nasty ones (including, apparently, one by Coburn, R-OK).

Sununu, as I understand it, would kill all trains that lose over $200 a passenger after a certain number of years. So this kills the long-distance network and doesn’t even use a rational basis (like revenue-to-cost ratio or loss per passenger-mile) to do it. Of course, the network is so skeletal that removing just about any individual route would have significant harmful network impacts. In other words, the domino theory applies here, whether or not you believe it in foreign policy!!

Phone calls this morning to Senate offices should urge votes against this and any other anti-train amendments. Most senators probably know an anti-train amendment when they see one. However, they can assume that an amendment is anti-train if Senators Lautenberg and Lott do not both accept said amendment as friendly.

Remember, when you phone and ask for the staff person, you may be offered voice-mail. Accept that offer and be sure to leave a substantive message. Do not rely on the staffer’s ability to return your call in a timely manner.

Your message could go like this: “Please support S. 294 and please vote against the Sununu per passenger subsidy cap amendment—a wolf in sheep’s clothing—and any other anti-train amendment that is offered.”

You can reach any Senate office by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard 202-224-3121. If you are on-line, your senators’ direct-dial number and web site are at

Thanks for your efforts!