I look forward to making sure that Montana's roads are enhanced and taken care of. I am a former member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and, now, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, I continue to work hard to ensure that funding for roads and highways is sufficient.
Amtrak is a very important part of Montana's transportation economy and infrastructure, and I strongly support funding for the Empire Builder route through northern Montana. Amtrak service along the hi-line connects a number of Montana communities that would otherwise be isolated from public transportation. The Empire Builder service in Montana has as many as 500,000 people traveling on it annually. Amtrak accounts for over $3.2 million in annual wages for the Montana economy, while direct spending by Amtrak travelers in Montana is estimated at over $5.3 million annually.
While I am concerned about continued funding for rail service along Montana's hi-line, Amtrak passenger rail service needs to be restructured in order to improve passenger service throughout the United States. I will work hard to ensure that Montana's passenger rail service is maintained through any re-structuring process. I'm committed to working with my fellow House members and Amtrak to develop a long-term plan that will ensure the safe and efficient service this nation's rail passengers deserve.
I voted to make America's system of airline security stronger, more aggressive and more reliable. The aviation security bill that was signed into law creates a uniform, consistent security system at our nation's airports. It also provides for federal marshals on commercial flights, increased security in all areas of airports and jets, comprehensive screening of every checked bag on all commercial flights, allows the Department of Transportation the ability to authorize guns for use by airline pilots if properly trained, and greatly increases cockpit security.