AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009 -- (Extensions of Remarks - February 04, 2009)
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Mr. HARE. Mr. Chair, I rise today in strong opposition to the amendment submitted by my colleague from Arizona, Mr. Flake.
The amendment would slash funding for an essential service to the American people, Amtrak. Amtrak is the main provider of all intercity passenger rail service in the United States and it is a key component of the American economy.
Amtrak is a safe, energy efficient transportation alternative that moves thousands of people and tons of cargo every day. It also employs thousands of Americans across the country. What started as a proposal for a minimum of $5 billion in funding has already been reduced to $1.1 billion in the base bill. Further cuts are unacceptable; they would prevent the development of intercity passenger rail in communities such as the Quad Cities in my home state of Illinois. We are fighting to re-establish the Quad Cities to Chicago route which would help commuters with their work-day travel and make the Quad Cities more desirable for new businesses and economic development. Additionally, the Quad Cities is the only community of its size in the entire country that does not have a four-year institution of higher education. Amtrak service would expedite plans already underway to establish the tech and engineering branch of Western Illinois University in Moline, which is why I offered an amendment to add $500 million for capital assistance for intercity passenger rail service.
In addition to the benefits Amtrak provides my own community, it also impacts the entire nation. For every $1 billion invested in transportation infrastructure, over 40,000 jobs are created and $6.2 billion in economic activity is generated. Federal funding for Amtrak and passenger rail would boost the economy and create jobs all across America.
It is time to invest in America's future. I urge my colleagues to vote no on this amendment and to preserve the transportation and energy future of America's cities.
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