AMTRAK

WHEREAS, the national Amtrak passenger rail system serves over 500 cities and communities across the country and provides safe, efficient and affordable mobility for millions of Americans each year; and

WHEREAS, ridership on Amtrak trains has increased 19% since 1996 and reached a total of 23.5 million riders in 2001 and demand for rail services continues to be strong on both corridor and long-distance trains; and

WHEREAS, the terrorist attacks of September 11th highlighted the value of Amtrak; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak ridership in the eight months since the attacks has remained strong despite a weak economy, significant reductions in travel and tourism and sharp declines in domestic air travel; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak provides clean, energy-efficient mobility, which can help, reduce the heavy U.S. dependence on imported oil; and

WHEREAS, travel by Amtrak uses 38% less energy(btu) per passenger mile than does travel by commercial airline; and

WHEREAS, state and local governments see the national Amtrak system as an essential way to assure future mobility for their regions but need the federal government to partner with them in making the rail investment (as the federal government does for highway, air and transit investments); and

WHEREAS, the U.S. government has significantly undercapitalized the national Amtrak system for decades, failed to provide passenger rail with a dedicated secure source of funding like other modes enjoy and require Amtrak alone to achieve operating self-sufficiency; and

WHEREAS, no comparable national passenger rail system in the world has succeeded without operating subsidies; certainly no system has ever succeeded without substantial public capital investment; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak has reached a critical juncture and will be forced to implement extensive service cuts nationwide unless federal funding is substantially increased above current levels; and

WHEREAS, The Department of Transportation Inspector General says Amtrak needs $1 billion annually for capital alone; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak is experiencing an FY 2002 operating shortfall and has requested $200 million loan by July, 2002; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon the Administration and the Congress to provide at least $2 billion for Amtrak in FY 2003 to sustain our national intercity passenger rail system over the next year; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon the Administration and the Congress to provide at least an additional $775 million to cover security upgrades and improvements; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon the Administration and the Congress to make a commitment to provide stable and adequate funding for the national Amtrak passenger rail network and infrastructure; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors opposes privatizing passenger rail as the Amtrak Reform Council has suggested; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this proposal is exactly the reason Amtrak was created in the first place.