WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations – introduced an amendment that would maintain Amtrak train services along the established, long-distance passenger rail route of the Southwest Chief.
“Local communities whose residents and businesses depend on Amtrak should be provided the stability of rail service that the Southwest Chief has delivered to them for decades, as ordered when chartered by Congress,” said Sen. Moran. “This bipartisan amendment will provide critical support for the Southwest Chief to ensure its continuity for passengers and pressure Amtrak to live up to its promises of keeping the route in service.”
Sen. Moran’s amendment – which is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), all senators who represent states through which the route runs – would set aside resources for maintenance and safety improvements along the route, and compel Amtrak to fulfill its promise of matching funding for the successful TIGER IX discretionary grant supported by the Kansas Department of Transportation and local communities along the route. In addition, this amendment would effectively reverse Amtrak’s decision to substitute rail service with bus service over large segments of the route.
Items to note:
- On July 25, 2018, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a Sense of the Congress measure to affirm support for the long-distance rail service.
- Last week, Sen. Moran joined a bipartisan group of senators in a letter to Amtrak’s CEO urging him to uphold Amtrak’s side of a longstanding public-private partnership to continue operating the Southwest Chief passenger train and long-distance passenger service.
- Last month, Sen. Moran and five of his Senate colleagues met with Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson to discuss solutions for the Southwest Chief and encourage more transparency in Amtrak’s decision-making.
- In May, Sen. Moran led a bipartisan, multi-state letter condemning Amtrak’s decision not to match TIGER grant funds.
- Also in May, Sen. Moran questioned Amtrak board nominees on Amtrak’s decision not to match federal TIGER grant program funding and on their intentions regarding the Southwest Chief.