2005 ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS
TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS

A NATIONAL INTERCITY RAIL POLICY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS AMTRAK INTERCITY RAIL INVESTMENT TASK FORCE

WHEREAS, congested metropolitan highways, limited options for expanding airport capacity, continued financial deterioration of the airlines, and rising fuel prices are urgent reminders of the transportation infrastructure crisis that is jeopardizing America’s prosperity; and

WHEREAS, September 11, 2001 highlighted that our nation needs viable alternatives to air travel, and it is clear that intercity and long distance passenger rail service is that alternative; and

WHEREAS, intercity passenger rail infrastructure has been neglected for far too long by the federal government; and

WHEREAS, in the context of increasingly complex, costly and limited alternatives to an impending transportation system crisis, intercity passenger rail provides the opportunity to add capacity to the nation’s congested aviation and highway transportation modes; and

WHEREAS, intercity passenger rail provides a more fuel-efficient transportation option thereby providing cleaner transportation alternatives and helping reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak intercity passenger rail service provides cities large and small with direct economic, social and homeland security interest and is a source of civic pride; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak, America’s national passenger railroad, served 25 million passengers last year, the highest number in any year in its history; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak is the largest commuter operator in the nation, transporting more than 60 million commuters per year directly and an additional 356 million riders yearly indirectly through agreements and/or shared operations; and

WHEREAS, for many rural Americans, Amtrak represents the only major transportation link to the rest of the country and is especially important with discontinuance of bus service throughout much of the rural United States; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to stabilize Amtrak operations, infrastructure, and financials by appropriating Amtrak’s FY06 grant request of $1.82 billion while federal policy-makers debate the immediate and long-term authorization for Amtrak; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to establish a sustainable federal passenger rail trust fund, comparable to the highway and aviation trust funds, to provide Amtrak, states and local governments with a reliable source of capital and operating support for intercity passenger rail corridors; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to enact tax incentives and pursue other measures to stimulate increased private sector participation to improve crossings, rail stations, and rail infrastructure; acquire rolling stock; offer commuter benefits and transit-oriented development in support of intercity passenger rail; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors calls on the Administration and Congress to dedicate a portion of any proceeds from the federal issuance of bonds to fund transportation spending to an intercity passenger rail trust fund; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that with the establishment of a sustainable federal passenger rail trust fund, The United States Conference of Mayors recommends to the Administration and Congress that a federal match program for intercity passenger rail corridor operations and capital be comparable to other modes of transportation, generally at 80% federal and 20% state funded, perhaps richer federal match under certain circumstances, to stimulate development where it is most needed, including encouraging intercity passenger rail-airport-transit connections and rail oriented development; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the long distance, including transcontinental passenger trains, form the basis for, and connections to, emerging federal-state supported corridors and provide an important transportation link for many rural communities and regions across the country; therefore, it is the recommendation of The United States Conference of Mayors to the Administration and Congress that the federal government maintain full responsibility for operating and capital; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to delay enactment of long distance performance evaluations or benchmarks until the long distance infrastructure is brought into a state of good condition and numerous freight rail issues, including choke points, have been identified and solved; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that with the establishment of a sustainable federal passenger rail trust fund, The United States Conference of Mayors recommends to the Administration and Congress that a federal match program for Northeast Corridor operations and capital be comparable to other modes of transportation, generally at 80% federal and 20% state funded, perhaps richer federal match under certain circumstances, to stimulate development where it is most needed, including encouraging intercity passenger rail-airport-transit connections and rail oriented development; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to require that the composition of the Amtrak Board of Directors include a mayor of a city selected from among mayors of cities with an interest in passenger rail, especially in light of recommendations in the Administration’s and Amtrak’s reform proposals that states and locals share the costs of corridor and long distance passenger rail service; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Department of Homeland Security take financial and operational responsibility for securing intercity passenger rail operations and infrastructure.

©2005 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352
info@usmayors.org