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Public Statements

New Amtrak President Should be Rural Advocate, Rehberg Says

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


New Amtrak President Should be Rural Advocate, Rehberg Says
November 10, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC - In the wake of yesterday's announced dismissal of Amtrak president David Gunn, Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, is urging Amtrak's Chairman to seek a successor who will fight to continue Montana's Empire Builder passenger rail service.

"I understand and support the need for reform within Amtrak, I ask that while considering a replacement for Mr. Gunn, please keep in mind that the next leader of Amtrak needs to have an appreciation for Amtrak's role as a vital transportation provider for the entire country," Rehberg said in a letter to David M. Laney, Chairman of the Board of Amtrak's parent company, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.

Rehberg, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, has successfully fought efforts in the House to cut Amtrak service across Montana's Hi-line. On June 29, Rehberg led an effort in the House to successfully turn back language inserted in the Transportation spending bill that would have gutted Amtrak and ended passenger rail service across rural Montana. That day, Rehberg pressed a pair of amendments having the combined effect of restoring funding for Amtrak, while at the same time sustaining Empire Builder service. With Rehberg leading the debate, the House approved both amendments; both Amtrak funding and Empire Builder service were put back in the measure, which was later approved by the House.

"As you well know, in recent years, the long distance rail service provided by Amtrak, including the Empire Builder that crosses Montana, has been threatened. These trains provide an important transportation service to thousands of Americans," Rehberg wrote. "As you begin the process of selecting a new leader for Amtrak, I urge you to give strong consideration to candidates that understand the importance of long-distance rail transportation and the need to sustain this type of service into the future."

Letter:

November 9, 2005

Mr. David M. Laney, Esq.

Chairman of the Board
National Railroad Passenger Corporation Board of Directors
60 Massachusetts Ave., NE
Washington, DC 20002

Dear Mr. Laney:

I recently read of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation Board of Directors' decision to terminate Mr. David Gunn's employment as President and CEO of Amtrak. While I understand and support the need for reform within Amtrak, I ask that while considering a replacement for Mr. Gunn, please keep in mind that the next leader of Amtrak needs to have an appreciation for Amtrak's role as a vital transportation provider for the entire country.

As you well know, in recent years, the long distance rail service provided by Amtrak, including the Empire Builder that crosses Montana, has been threatened. These trains provide an important transportation service to thousands of Americans. As you begin the process of selecting a new leader for Amtrak, I urge you to give strong consideration to candidates that understand the importance of long-distance rail transportation and the need to sustain this type of service into the future.

Thank you for considering my request. Amtrak fills a vitally important transportation role throughout our country. I look forward to your choice of a strong advocate for continued, quality cross-country service.

Sincerely

Denny Rehberg
Montana's Congressman

http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/mt00_rehberg/111005_AmtrakLeader.html

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