The bill (HR 6147) that would preserve Amtrak service over the entire current Southwest Chief route has passed out of the Senate and is now headed for a conference committee in the House to reconcile the differences in spending bills from both chambers. If you haven’t called your Representatives in the House, please do so. We need to protect the Amtrak network and the rail jobs that could be adversely affected.
The following Representatives are assigned to the House Conference Committee, and this is a priority: Republicans: Robert Aderholt (AL), Mike Simpson (ID), Ken Calvert (CA), Tom Cole (OK). Mario Diaz-Balart (FL), Tom Graves (GA), David Young (IA), and John Rutherford (FL). Democrats: David Price (NC), Sanford Bishop (GA), Betty McCollum, (MN), Mike Quigley (IL), and Chellie Pingree (ME). If your Representative is on this list, call them immediately.
Also Ask the committee members to require Amtrak to honor all Federal Railroad Administration Positive Train Control exemptions as Amtrak management wants to ignore these exemptions, threatening the Southwest Chief and possibly other main train routes including the Cardinal, California Zephyr, Texas Eagle, Downeaster, Vermonter, Ethan Allen, and the City of New Orleans.
In addition to the Southwest Chief issue, HR 6147 provides for improved funding levels for passenger rail and transit. The bill includes $1.3 billion for Amtrak’s national network and $650 million for the Northeast Corridor. It also provides over $14 billion for other rail and transit grants, which will help grow passenger train service and increase rail jobs across the country, and that serves to protect our railroad retirement system.
So, we’re asking that NARVRE members make the calls to these specific negotiators on the House Conference Committee listed above. If members have not called their Representatives who are not on the conference committee, that should be done as well. All supporting groups involved want everyone to know that our work is having a positive effect. Thank you. You can contact the Congress Switchboard at 202-224-3121, or use our familiar NARVRE numbers at 877-668-3864 and 877-668-3866.