2003 Adopted Resolutions
71st Annual Meeting
Denver

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RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF AMTRAK REAUTHORIZATION

WHEREAS, Amtrak annually provides intercity passenger rail travel to over 23 million Americans residing in 46 states; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak trains carry 60 million commuters to and from work in congested metropolitan areas each year and affect over 1 million daily commuter travelers through operating agreements and shared infrastructure; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak not only provides critical services to major metropolitan areas, for many rural Americans, Amtrak represents the only major transportation link to the rest of the country; and

WHEREAS, passenger rail provides a more fuel-efficient transportation system thereby providing cleaner transportation alternatives and helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil; and

WHEREAS, the United States 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 required 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, the minimal savings from eliminating long distance trains does not justify jeopardizing the only passenger rail service in 23 states; and

WHEREAS, the reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), which is occurring at the same time as the reauthorization of the aviation and Amtrak programs, offers a key opportunity to increase the strategic and economic security of our intercity transportation system while providing an alternative to congested highways and crowded runways; and

WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors encourages a seamless transportation system for all modal elements, including airports, highways, passenger and freight rail; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak President and CEO David Gunn and the Amtrak Board of Directors have demonstrated sound fiscal stewardship by taking positive steps to reduce costs, streamline corporate structure and dramatically increase the transparency of Amtrak's fiscal condition,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors calls upon the Administration and Congress to invest in Amtrak by creating a long-term, sustainable federal funding mechanism to provide Amtrak with a fair and consistent source of capital and operating support for intercity passenger rail; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors calls upon the Administration and Congress to provide at least $1.8 billion for Amtrak in FY04 to sustain our national intercity passenger rail system over the next year and fund Amtrak's five year strategic plan through FY08; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors calls upon the Administration and Congress to reject efforts to break up and privatize Amtrak inter-city passenger rail operations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors urge the Administration and Congress to create a congressionally chartered non-profit corporation to issue tax credit bonds to fund a rail trust fund; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors urge the Administration and Congress to create a rail trust fund; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors call on the Administration and Congress to dedicate a portion of any new federal fuels excise tax increase for inter-city passenger rail with Amtrak as the operator; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors call on the Administration and Congress to dedicate a portion of any proceeds from the federal issuance of bonds to fund transportation spending, including inter-city passenger rail.