An Important Call to Action from NARP.

UPDATE: Earlier today I spoke to someone in NARP’s Washington offices who said they have heard from staff people working for several of the senators listed below. The staffers wanted NARP to know that there has been a spike in phone calls and emails from concerned passenger rail supporters urging votes against the idiotic anti-Amtrak amendments mentioned over the past couple of days. And they assured NARP that their bosses would not support any of the onerous amendments. Score one for the good guys!


Well, this is discouraging! From the National Association of Railroad Passengers in Washington comes the disturbing word that a number of senators – Democratic senators, for heaven’s sake! – may be weakening when it comes to opposing the Flake amendment to the pending transportation bill. People from the anti-Amtrak radical right are badgering these senators, many of whom are up for re-election.

The amendment is destructive and badly-conceived, as I hope you will recall from an earlier post here. It would deny Amtrak the use of any federal funds to help pay for food, beverage or first class service on Amtrak trains.
These are the senators in question:
·                  Mark Begich (D-AK)

·                 Kay Hagan (D-NC),
·                 Mary Landrieu (D-LA),
·                Claire McCaskill (D-MO),
·                Jeff Merkley (D-OR),
·                Bill Nelson (D-FL)
·                Mark Pryor (D-AR)
·                Mark Udall (D-CO)
·               Tom Udall (D-NM)
·               Mark Warner (D-VA)

      If one of these senators is from your state, please call and ask him or her to oppose the Flake amendment.
The point to make when you’re speaking to one of the legislative aides is that the amendment is badly conceived – in fact, it’s a stupid idea, but best to avoid saying exactly that – and would have exactly the opposite result from its stated purpose: to reduce the amount of Amtrak’s federal subsidy.
Best estimates are that this amendment, if implemented, would reduce Amtrak’s ridership by at least 4.5 percent. That, in turn, would mean a reduction in ticket revenue of almost 10 percent which translates to a loss of $184 million, leaving Amtrak requiring more subsidy from federal and state governments, not less … which was supposedly the object of this amendment.
So, if one of these folks represents you and your interests, please call them.
I thank you. And so does NARP.