Specter Writes To Amtrak And Biden To Address Unsafe Amtrak Bridges In Philadelphia
Today, U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) took steps to address the reports of substandard conditions of many Amtrak bridges in Philadelphia. Senator Specter wrote the President and CEO of Amtrak, Joseph H. Boardman, requesting that he promptly address the reports as described in a September 20, 2009 Philadelphia Inquirer article.
"I am deeply troubled by this report," Senator Specter wrote. "Thousands of my constituents from Philadelphia and the surrounding communities, as well as residents from bordering states, depend on rail transportation and traverse these bridges daily. They and I have a right to know that every measure is taken to ensure safe travel, and that when substandard conditions are discovered, a plan to remedy the deficiencies is devised and implemented."
Citing the tragic collapse of the bridge in Minnesota, Senator Specter emphasized the responsibility the federal government has to ensure a safe transit system.
"I am sensitive to the budgetary constraints under which Amtrak operates and have consistently advocated for robust Federal investment in our National passenger rail system," Senator Specter continued. "Yet as Amtrak strives to increase ridership and secure its fiscal solvency, safety must remain a top priority."
Senator Specter also wrote to Vice President Joseph Biden requesting his consideration that stimulus funds be made available to repair bridges in the Philadelphia-region. While the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act appropriated $850 million for Amtrak to rebuild and modernize infrastructure and equipment, according to the Inquirer article, none is currently allocated to Philadelphia-area bridges.