The Anti-Rail Mob Is At It Again.

The people in Congress who would do away with passenger rail in this country took another run at that “goal” last week.

With apologies to the late Henny Youngman, take Congressman Mo Brooks … please! Congressman Brooks is a Republican from Alabama, who took time out from ballyhooing “The War on White People” he says is being waged, to introduce not one, but two amendments that would eliminate federal funding for Amtrak. To be clear, these amendments would have killed Amtrak’s long distance trains in the short term and, absent federal support, would probably have doomed the Northeast Corridor trains, too. Both of Congressman Brooks’ amendments failed. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that 143 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, all Republicans, voted for the Brooks amendments. To be fair, it is also true that 101 Republicans opposed Brooks’ amendment, no doubt because Amtrak trains run through their districts.
But not necessarily. Once again we have Rep. Pete Sessions (Republican from Texas) putting forth another amendment—he’s tried this before, you see—that would effectively kill Amtrak’s Sunset Limited, a long-distance train that runs the entire width of Sessions’ home state.
Last and very much least, there’s Congressman Bill Posey, a Florida Republican, who introduced two amendments that would effectively kill the All Aboard Florida project, a proposed passenger rail line linking Miami and Orlando. You know how the Republicans are constantly saying “privatize, privatize, privatize”? Well All Aboard Florida is a major rail project that is –you guessed it!– privately funded. Posey, of course, is currying favor with the people of influence who don’t want more trains passing through their up-scale communities. Posey’s amendments also failed.
TRIP UPDATE: The departure of my flight from Maui to Dallas was delayed for several hours, but my suitcase and I both made the connection at DFW. The next two days will involve meting with former classmates at a high-school reunion and getting together with members of the a cappella octet I sang with 60 years ago. We’re going to see how we sound after all those years. It had better be at least passable … we’re scheduled to perform at the reunion banquet!