Amtrak would receive $19.2 billion under bipartisan legislation unveiled Tuesday, kicking off a new chapter in long-running debate over how to fix the beleaguered passenger railroad.
The legislation by Sens. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Trent Lott, R-Miss., would provide $3.2 billion per year over six years. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., and Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., are co-sponsors of the bill.
In recent years, Congress has given the quasi-private railroad about $1.2 billion even as some critics have said Amtrak is so poorly managed it should be turned over to the private sector.
The bill introduced Tuesday has 10 Senate co-sponsors: Carper and Biden; Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.; Arlen Specter, R-Pa.; Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas; Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.; Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.; Richard Durbin, D-Ill.; Richard Burr, R-N.C.; and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.
Why is Kay Bailey sponsoring this? Isn't Amtrak's service in Texas horrible? I mean, the Eastern seaboard senators love Amtrak because it provides them an easy, cushy commute to DC. But I don't understand Hutchison's sponsorship, unless she's getting something out of it on another issue.
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