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Where Do Presidential Candidates Stand on Funding for Passenger Rail?

07 Mar 2012 7:43 PM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

This item appears in The Peach State Xpress, the excellent newsletter of the Georgia Association of Railroad Passengers (website: www.garprail.org) which is edited by Jim Dexter.

It is being reprinted here as it is a good appraisal of the candidates' positions as they currently stand.

Political positions, of course, can change! Now-Presidential candidate Rick Santorum used to support Amtrak funding-- when he was up for reelection as a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. Check out this 2006 TV ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHT6SJd2KFg

All of this is another reminder of why rail supporters need to speak up-- and vote!-- regardless of their political party affiliation.

--Jackson McQuigg

 

TRAINS, TRANSIT AND PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Georgia holds its presidential primary on March 6. Republicans will be able to choose between Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum, but for train and transit supporters, it may be difficult to choose a favorite. Two of the candidates--Romney and Santorum--have vowed to eliminate federal funding for Amtrak as a budget-cutting move, even though Amtrak accounts for just 0.05% of federal spending. Paul once suggested that Amtrak was a symptom of an "increasingly fascist America". The GOP candidates have been relatively silent about transit funding, but Gingrich recently referred to subway riders as "elites", raising the question of whether Gingrich-- a former Georgia congressman-- has ever in his life been on MARTA. President Obama will be the only candidate on the Democratic ballot. In his 2013 budget recommendations, Obama proposes spending $6 billion on passenger rail and $2.2 billion on transit, but those proposals have run into heavy Republican opposition.

Comments

  • 08 Mar 2012 12:00 PM | Deleted user
    If a Republican is elected President, and with the mood in Congress we are already seeing, I seriously doubt that any long distance routes that are not state funded with exist by this time next year. Certain the 3-fers, i.e. the Sunset Ltd. and the Cardinal will get the axe immediately. Only the routes with hardline political support will remain, and these will likely be disconnected from anything else. It is not looking good for this part of the third world.

    J. H. Sullivan
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  • 11 Mar 2012 10:01 PM | Anonymous member
    Any rail supporter would be a fool to vote for Mitt the dimwitt after his constant remarks of using Amtrak as a poster child for his cuts to government services. I also find Romney's moral compass unacceptable and will leave it at that since that is irrelevenat to what this forum is about.
    Gingrich did a very poor job of being house speaker and sat on the budgets president Clinton had proposed and handed him as early as March, every year he was speaker, and didn't even address them until the last minute come round September, hecne for so many "continuing resolutions".
    Rick Santorum, on the other hand, was supportive, but now? Or is he just saying that to get votes? Let's hope it is the later of the two comments.
    Ron Paul is out-of-bounds for being classified as a Republican. He more fits the mold for those train haters at the Libertarian Party. It wouldn't surprise me if later he teams up with former New Mexico governer Gary Johnson and he ends up being his running mate for veep on the Libetarian party ticket, which by far is the most disastorous choice for ANY form of transportation.
    That leaves Obama as the only choice left. While I don't agree with quite a bit of stuff Obama has done, as for transportation, I'm glad we finally had a president who took a more serious look at it for the first time in a long time.
    But as far as I'm concerned, the presidential race is his to lose if things don't turn around by election day.
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