Biden Bodes Well for Rail

Transit supporters may have reason to rejoice in the selection of Sen. Joe Biden as Obama's V.P. pick.

Biden commutes to work each day on Amtrak and has been a strong supporter of the beleaguered rail service.  He is an original co-sponsor of the Amtrak Reauthorization Bill (National Defense Rail Act), S.104, introduced on January 7, 2003.   Introducing an earlier version of the bill with Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-SC) on March 6, 2002, Biden stated, "For 30 years, I have witnessed Congress dangling a carrot in front of Amtrak's eyes, funding it just enough for it to limp along.  And I'll tell you, this has to stop.  Now is the time to commit politically and financially to a strong, safe, and efficient passenger rail system."   Biden has been particularly concerned with rail passenger security, and has, in the words of communications director Norm Kurz "worked furiously" to secure funding for Amtrak to upgrade its tunnels, hire more cops and bomb-sniffing dogs, build more fences, and add lighting to terminals.

Amtrak president George Warrington presented Biden with a "Champion of the Rails" award in June 2001 and the American Passenger Rail Coalition (APRC), a national association of railroad equipment suppliers and rail businesses, presented him its "Rail Leadership Award" in March 2002.

Moreover, his younger son is on the Amtrak board, and in that capacity is a major advocate for the railroad.

Full Story: A Shot in the Arm for Amtrak?


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