(House of Representatives - June 26, 2002)

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[Page H4035]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott) is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of a $200 million 
loan guarantee for the Amtrak national passenger rail system and to 
urge the administration to expeditiously and favorably respond to 
Amtrak's request.
  Amtrak services well over 500 cities and towns throughout the Nation 
and is a safe, efficient, and affordable mode of transporting millions 
of Americans to work and leisure activities each year.
  The events of September 11 clearly underscore the need for an 
alternative mode of transportation to air travel. In the 8 months since 
the 9-11 attacks, Amtrak ridership has remained strong, despite a 
weakened economy, significant reductions in travel and tourism, and 
steep declines in domestic air travel.
  In my own congressional district, the city of Richmond, Virginia, has 
invested over $48 million in the restoration of the historic Main 
Street Station. Amtrak will be a major provider of service; and after 
10 years of planning, the first phase of renovations is now finally 
under way and trains are expected to begin stopping at the Main Street 
Station within the next 6 to 8 months.
  Mr. Speaker, passenger rail service is an essential component to our 
plans to create a multimodal transportation center at the Main Street 
Station, and an Amtrak shutdown will leave a significant gap in our 
region's transportation network.
  A shutdown of Amtrak will also lead to the possible halt in other 
linked services, including the Virginia Railway Express, which 
transports 12,000 riders each day, many coming into Washington, D.C. on 
rail rather than adding to the congestion on Interstate 395.
  Mr. Speaker, each year, this Congress appropriates significant 
dollars in the way of subsidies to our highways and national aviation 
system; yet we fail to provide the same level of support and commitment 
to passenger rail. A responsible Federal investment in our Nation's 
passenger rail system is long overdue. I believe this Congress is ready 
to work toward that end; but in the short term, I urge the 
administration to make available the resources that Amtrak needs to 
sustain its national operations.