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Patrick Murphy Passes Legislation to Help Cornwells Heights Passengers

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Patrick Murphy Passes Legislation to Help Cornwells Heights Passengers

8th District Congressman Introduces and Passes Measure to Aid Commuters Who Face Long and Expensive Rides, Record Gas Prices and Heavy Traffic

26,000 Annual Amtrak Cornwells Heights - New York City Passengers in

12,500 Annual Amtrak Cornwells Heights - New York City Passengers in 2006

$972 Cost of Amtrak Cornwells Heights Monthly Commute in 2008

40 Hours Savings Per Month Through Amtrak at Cornwells Heights Instead of SEPTA or NJ Transit

8 million Number of Cars Amtrak Takes Out of Traffic Each Year

With Pennsylvania families facing long, expensive commutes, Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) passed legislation today to ease their burden. Rep. Murphy introduced an amendment to H.R. 6003, the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, that forces Amtrak to take a hard look at whether increasing the frequency of trains at the Cornwells Heights station or lowering prices for commuters would increase ridership from that station. Cornwells Heights has seen a sharp drop in commuters to New York City after Amtrak cut in half the number of trains that stop there and raised prices for commuters. At its peak, 26,000 riders used Cornwells Heights every year and that number was growing by 11 percent. Now commuters face the option of fewer trains, longer commutes through SEPTA, crowded highways with record gas prices or paying an average of $972 per month to take Amtrak. At a time when Lower Bucks County is making progress with economic growth and revitalization, improvements for commuters can continue moving the region forward. Murphy's amendment passed with bipartisan support, and the larger bill passed with a veto-proof margin of 311-104.

"Across our community, families are facing record gas prices and increased congestion on our roadways. I was proud to stand up for Cornwells Heights commuters and to try to give them more time at home and ease the burden of a long and expensive trip," said Congressman Patrick Murphy. "My measure ensures that our public transportation resources are being used as effectively as possible so we don't have more cars on our clogged highways and more exhaust fumes in our air. Our region is undergoing an economic revitalization, and we need to do whatever we can to make sure we keep making progress."

About Rep. Patrick Murphy's Amendment to H.R. 6003

Congressman Patrick Murphy's amendment would force Amtrak to determine whether more frequent stops at these stations, or better discounts there for daily commuters, would lead to an increase in ridership. At a time when economic growth is vital to this region, increasing commuter participation from Cornwells Heights will not only decrease traffic, congestion and air pollution, but also stimulate the local economy.

His amendment, which was offered with Reps. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) and Rush Holt (D-NJ), calls for Amtrak to report to Congress, within a year of enactment, an evaluation of passenger rail service between Cornwells Heights, PA, and New York City, NY, and between Princeton Junction, NJ, and New York City, NY. This report will hopefully lead to increased ridership through a plan to expand passenger rail service by increasing the frequency of stops or reducing commuter ticket prices for this route. The amendment passed with bipartisan support.

About H.R. 6003 - The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act

The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act will modernize and expand Amtrak and other intercity passenger rail service and infrastructure. Passenger rail lowers American fuel consumption because it's more energy efficient than both cars and airplanes. Intercity passenger rail consumes 21 percent less energy per passenger mile than automobiles and 17 percent less energy per passenger mile than airlines. Passenger rail also reduces global warming because it cuts in half carbon dioxide impact per passenger over cars and airplanes - meaning that expanding passenger rail will reduce global warming. The average intercity passenger rail train produces 60 percent lower carbon dioxide emissions per passenger mile than the average automobile, and 50 percent lower emissions than the average airplane.

As congestion grows in many regions of the country, intercity passenger rail is an increasingly necessary alternative to highway and air travel. For example, Amtrak removes 8 million cars from the road each year. At a time when gas prices continue to skyrocket, the demand by commuters and other travelers for cost-efficient public transportation systems, including passenger rail, is growing rapidly. This critical bill will help meet this growing need.

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