What: All Issues : Environment : Rail Transportation : H.R. 2989. Fiscal 2004 Transportation-Treasury Appropriations/Vote to Require that Amtrak Routes Recoup at Least Fifty Percent of Expenses to Remain Operational. (2003 house Roll Call 482)
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H.R. 2989. Fiscal 2004 Transportation-Treasury Appropriations/Vote to Require that Amtrak Routes Recoup at Least Fifty Percent of Expenses to Remain Operational.
house Roll Call 482     Sep 09, 2003
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

A major source of contention during debate on the 2004 Transportation and Treasury appropriations bill involved funding for Amtrak, a federally-funded and operated railway. In the view of Progressives, Amtrak provides an important means of transportation for lower-income individuals who cannot afford to fly or who do not own automobiles. Conservatives, conversely, generally view Amtrak as an inefficient use of taxpayer money and favor privatizing the railway. During debate on the appropriations measure, Congressman Sessions (R-TX) offered an amendment which would have eliminated all Amtrak routes that do not recoup at least fifty cents of every dollar spent to operate the route. Conservatives supported the Sessions amendment as a way to reduce the most inefficient routes operated by Amtrak. Progressives opposed the amendment and pointed out that the Sessions proposal, if adopted, would effectively eliminate all of Amtrak's long-distance routes (while many of Amtrak's short distance routes are profitable-such as rail service between Washington, D.C., New York City, and Boston, MA-its long distance routes tend to lose money and thus require taxpayer subsidies to remain operational). Democrats voted overwhelmingly in opposition to the Sessions amendment, the measure was defeated 130-282, and the requirement that Amtrak routes recoup at least fifty percent of expenses to remain operational was not included in the underlying appropriations bill.

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