For this quarter's American Government assignment, I will be lobbying in support of federal rail funding. Since the 1970s, the National Railroad Passenger Coprospration (commonly known as Amtrak) was founded to operatate the nation's failing railroads under a federal subsidy. Since then, American dependence on railroads has quickly grown. From the rural routes in the Midwest, to the heavily-traveled Northeast Corridor, passengers use Amtrak as a green alternative to other forms of travel. With a growing need and want for high speed infrastructure in the United States, federal funding needs to offset some of the high costs needed to invest in a brighter future for American travel. As one who frequents Amtrak and worked as an intern in their engineering department, I am aware of the high costs required to fulfill the growing need for high speed rail.
Current legislation ensures that Amtrak receives funding, through the Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970. However, many leaders in the Republican party suggest that Amtrak funding should decrease, if not stop, due to the current American budget crisis. Many Democrats feel as through the funding should continue, as it provides a green alternative to modern train travel. In the coming time, I would like to see some of the federal budget changed such that money from environmental advancements and highway maintenance programs are spent on the creation and service of a true high speed rail network throughout the United States (which would serve the goals and interests of all three departments).
Overview of Amtrak and Possible Privatization: http://www.fra.dot.gov/downloads/Research/pirp.pdf
C-SPAN Congressional Amtrak Subsidy Re-Evaluation: http://www.c-span.org/Events/Congress-Evaluates-Amtrak-Funding/10737420766/
National Association of Rail Passengers - Possible Cuts to Funding: http://www.narprail.org/cms/index.php/narpblog/more/amtrak_threatened_with_shutdown_budget/
Information about Current Subsidies: http://subsidyscope.org/transportation/direct-expenditures/amtrak/analysis/