WASHINGTON — As fate would have it, the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia comes just as Congress is set to debate Amtrak’s funding.
CBS News Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes tells WTOP the House Appropriations Committee is about to debate a Republican proposal to cut Amtrak’s funding from $1.4 billion to $1.13 billion.
“Republicans have frequently argued that Amtrak is a money-loser,” Cordes said Wednesday morning.
She says they want to Amtrak
Democrats, on the other hand, argue that
That’s an argument that will play out in real time Wednesday, Cordes says, and the derailment could play a role.
Wednesday’s derailment ironically happened on a Northeast Corridor train, the busiest rail line in the country and one of the few on which Amtrak makes money. Cordes points out, however, that that doesn’t mean the infrastructure reflects that.
When that happens, the Northeast Corridor
Cordes also explains that lots of members of Congress come from states along the unprofitable long-distance rail lines, some areas of which don’t have air service, and they’re resisting any changes in that regard.
The Republican proposal would forcibly divert $470 million per year to the Northeast Corridor. The head Amtrak, Cordes says, also wants a change in the funding process, because right now Amtrak works on a year-to-year basis, and that makes it hard to enter into long-term contracts or make long-term investments to fix the infrastructure.