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Public Statements

Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


PASSENGER RAIL INVESTMENT AND IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - June 11, 2008)

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Mr. MURPHY of Connecticut. Mr. Chairman, I'd like to allow myself such time as I may consume.

I would like to thank Chairman Oberstar for his hard work, not only on the underlying bill, but in his gracious work with me and the Massachusetts and Connecticut delegations to allow us to bring this amendment before the House today.

I rise in strong support of the amendment before us. By supporting the implementation of commuter rail service, as this amendment will assist us between New Haven, Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts, we can help strengthen and expand one of my State's most vital transportation corridors.

While Metro North and Shoreline East rail lines provide extensive commuter service across Connecticut's southern coastal region, there is little available service to meet the needs throughout the central portion of the State. Connecticut's existing commuter rail lines have already seen over 5 percent increase in ridership just in the first quarter of 2008, and there's a clear need to expand it throughout the other sectors.

Not only would such rail service help alleviate roadway congestion, save consumers money on gas, and help combat global warming, it would contribute to the economic revitalization of this route. In my district, the city of Meriden is prepared to build a state-of-the-art intermodal transportation hub to take advantage of this new rail line.

At a time when gas prices are squeezing American's budgets like never before, we need to invest in this type of commuter rail service that is available right now on the line that runs between New Haven and Springfield.

We need sensible mass transit solutions, and by expressing strong congressional support for this new proposed rail line, taking advantage of an existing Amtrak line, and by directing Amtrak, as this amendment does, to report on the lines' uncompleted infrastructure maintenance, information that is badly needed in order to make plans going forward to add local commuter service to that line, we are sending a clear signal that the time for action is now.

Again, I would like to thank Chairman Oberstar and I would urge support for this amendment.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. PATRICK J. MURPHY of Pennsylvania. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield myself 2 minutes.

Mr. Chairman, families across the country are facing record gas prices and increased congestion on our roadways. We hear it every time we go home. And as Members of Congress, we have a responsibility to do what we can do to make things better. This amendment is about making sure that our public transportation resources are being used as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Through this measure, we require Amtrak to take a hard look at passenger rail service at two important rail stations in our districts. Our hope is that they will find a way to help commuters and rail passengers in our districts by either expanding passenger rail service through increasing the frequency of stops or by reducing prices.

For years, the Cornwells Heights and Princeton Junction stations have been hubs for commuters who work in New York City. Amtrak then cut the number of trains at these stations in half. Then they increased prices for our commuters.

Mr. Chairman, countless families rely on the Cornwells Heights and Princeton Junction stations, and as a result of Amtrak's train cuts and fare hikes, families have been forced to drive longer distances or pay much higher fares. Today, our region is making economic progress, and Amtrak has a chance to keep moving us forward.

Mr. Chairman, in these troubled times, our local economy can't afford to take anymore hits and we can't allow commuters to use more time on crowded highways when they could be home with their families.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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