[Congressional Record Volume 155, Number 68 (Tuesday, May 5, 2009)]
[House]
[Pages H5129-H5131]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                     SUPPORTING NATIONAL TRAIN DAY

  Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the 
rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 367) supporting the goals 
and ideals of National Train Day.
  The Clerk read the title of the resolution.
  The text of the resolution is as follows:

                              H. Res. 367

       Whereas in May 1869, the ``golden spike'' was driven into 
     the final tie at Promontory Summit, Utah, to join the Central 
     Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroads, ceremonially 
     completing the first transcontinental railroad and therefore 
     connecting both coasts of the United States;
       Whereas in highly populated regions Amtrak trains and 
     infrastructure carry commuters to and from work in congested 
     metropolitan areas providing a reliable rail option, reducing 
     congestion on roads and in the skies;
       Whereas for many rural Americans, Amtrak represents the 
     only major intercity transportation link to the rest of the 
     country;
       Whereas passenger trains provide a more fuel-efficient 
     transportation system thereby providing cleaner 
     transportation alternatives and energy security;
       Whereas intercity passenger rail was 18 percent more energy 
     efficient than airplanes and 25 percent more energy efficient 
     than automobiles on a per-passenger-mile basis in 2006;
       Whereas Amtrak annually provides intercity passenger rail 
     travel to over 25,000,000 Americans residing in 46 States;

[[Page H5130]]

       Whereas an increasing number of people are using trains for 
     travel purposes beyond commuting to and from work;
       Whereas community railroad stations are a source of civic 
     pride, a gateway to over 500 of our Nation's communities, and 
     a tool for economic growth; and
       Whereas Amtrak has designated May 9, 2009, as National 
     Train Day to celebrate the way trains connect people and 
     places: Now, therefore, be it
       Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
       (1) recognizes the contribution trains make to the national 
     transportation system;
       (2) urges the people of the United States to recognize such 
     a day as an opportunity to learn more about trains; and
       (3) supports the goals and ideals of National Train Day as 
     designated by Amtrak.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from 
Florida (Ms. Corrine Brown) and the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. 
Shuster) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Florida.


                             General Leave

  Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent 
that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and 
extend their remarks on H. Res. 367.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Florida?
  There was no objection.
  Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida. Madam Speaker, I rise in support of 
this resolution, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  National Train Day celebrates the 140th anniversary of the golden 
spike, which was driven into the final tie in Utah, and marked the 
completion of our Nation's first transcontinental railroad in 1869.

                              {time}  1500

  Last year, I celebrated National Train Day by holding events 
throughout my district, including press conferences and events in 
Jacksonville, Winter Park, and the Sanford Auto Train station. We had a 
great turnout at all of the events, and I heard firsthand from people 
who use Amtrak every day to go to work and visit friends and families 
all over the country.
  This year, I will be holding an event on Friday at my hometown 
station in Jacksonville, and I am planning a trip to New York in the 
very near future and hope other Members will join me. But we should 
celebrate Train Day every day, and I encourage Members to do events at 
their train stations throughout the year.
  As Chair of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous 
Materials, I have had the privilege to see firsthand passenger rail 
systems in other countries. I took the high-speed train from Brussels 
to Paris--200 miles in 1 hour and 15 minutes; from Barcelona to 
Madrid--350 miles in 2.5 hours. The advantage for travelers and the 
business community and others is tremendous.
  We need to catch up with the world; and with gas prices continuing to 
increase steadily, now is the perfect time for us to make serious our 
investment in passenger rail.
  Amtrak ridership and revenue have never been stronger. In 2008, 
Amtrak set a record for ridership, exceeding 28.7 million passengers. 
In the same year, ticket revenues increased by 14.2 percent, for more 
than $1.7 billion. For my State of Florida, Amtrak expenditures for 
goods and services were over $40 million last year, and we currently 
have over 700 Floridians as employees.
  More than just a convenient way to travel, Amtrak is the most energy 
efficient. Rail travel is more efficient than cars or airplanes. 
According to U.S. Department of Energy data, Amtrak is 17 percent more 
efficient than domestic airline travel and 21 percent more efficient 
than auto travel.
  Passenger rail also reduces global warming. The average passenger 
train produces 60 percent lower carbon emissions than cars, and 50 
percent less than airplanes.
  I travel all over the country and have conducted many transportation 
roundtable events that feature rail and its importance. Let me tell you 
that people love Amtrak and they love the train. It is a great way to 
commute to work, take cars off congested highways, and improve the 
environment. In many areas of the country, it is the only mode of 
public transportation. Let me repeat that: in many areas of the 
country, Amtrak is the only mode of public transportation available.
  We still have a lot of work ahead of us with Amtrak, but we took a 
major step forward last year when we passed legislation reauthorizing 
Amtrak at a level that would allow it to grow and prosper, and earlier 
this year when we provided $1.7 billion in stimulus funding for Amtrak, 
and $8 billion for development of a high-speed rail corridor.
  Major infrastructure improvements are still necessary to improve the 
safety and security of the system and its passengers and workers. 
Amtrak has and will continue to play a critical role in evacuating and 
transporting citizens during national emergencies. Unfortunately, it 
also is a prime target for those who wish to harm us, and we must 
provide resources to make the system less vulnerable.
  Fifty years ago, President Eisenhower created the National Highway 
System that changed the way we travel in this country. Today, we need 
to do the same with our rail system; and with the Amtrak 
reauthorization and real funding for high-speed rail, we are doing 
that.
  The United States used to have a first-class passenger rail system. 
However, after years of neglect, we are now the caboose--and they don't 
use cabooses anymore. The American people deserve better, and I believe 
our government's new commitment to Amtrak will go a long way to restore 
passenger rail service.
  I encourage my colleagues to show their support for our Nation's rail 
system and its employees by holding events at their local commuter 
train stations anytime during the year.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHUSTER. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  The ceremonial golden spike hammered at Promontory Summit, Utah, May 
10, 1869, marked the completion of the transcontinental railroad, one 
of the Nation's greatest engineering masterpieces. It also marked the 
birth of what would become the greatest rail network in the world and 
140 years later, we are still reaping the benefits of our ancestors' 
vision.
  The United States now has over 140,000 miles of railroads, making up 
the transportation backbone of this Nation. Our railroads are 
environmentally friendly, producing significantly less pollution than 
other modes of transportation. A train can haul one ton of freight 436 
miles on one gallon of diesel fuel, and it is three times cleaner than 
other modes. Trains also help to alleviate the congestion on our 
crowded highways. One train can actually take 280 trucks off the road.
  The deregulation law of 1980, the Staggers Act, has been an 
unparalleled success. We must take great care to protect the regulatory 
environment that has allowed the railroads to thrive and resist any 
effort that would undo all of the progress that this industry has made 
in efficiency and safety.
  On the passenger rail side, last year President Bush signed into law 
an Amtrak reauthorization that will take this country into the next 
generation of passenger rail service. The law makes important reforms 
to Amtrak and also creates a role for the private sector in the 
passenger rail industry.
  The Amtrak reauthorization, the first in a decade, created a 
framework for a public-private partnership for the construction of true 
high-speed rail corridors all over this Nation. High-speed rail 
promises safe, fast, and convenient service--all the while helping to 
alleviate aviation and highway congestion we face in this country.
  The continued success of the railroad industry is vital to this 
country's economy. I would therefore urge passage of H. Res. 367, which 
would create National Train Day on May 9.
  Mr. OBERSTAR. Madam Speaker, I rise today to highlight the importance 
of intercity passenger rail in the United States and express my support 
for Amtrak in conjunction with its 2nd Annual National Train Day on May 
9, 2009.
  National Train Day was established to celebrate train travel in 
America on the anniversary of completing the first transcontinental 
railroad 140 years ago. To mark the day, Amtrak is hosting free events 
across the country to teach adults and children about Amtrak and the 
benefits of intercity passenger rail.

[[Page H5131]]

  Passenger rail's benefits indeed are myriad. The Department of 
Transportation has described the problem of congestion on our highways 
and in the air as ``chronic''. Amtrak removes almost 8 million cars 
from the road annually. Airports are also experiencing significant 
delays, with more than 550,000 flights departing or arriving late in 
2008. Amtrak eases air congestion by eliminating the need for 50,000 
fully loaded airplanes each year.
  Amtrak is substantially more environmentally friendly than 
automobiles or airplanes. In fact, according to the World Resources 
Institute, rail transportation produces 57 percent less carbon 
emissions than airplanes, and 40 percent less carbon emissions than 
cars. Additionally, Amtrak has taken decisive action to reduce its 
carbon footprint as well, committing to reduce emissions from its 
diesel locomotives by 6 percent from 2003 through 2010, the largest 
voluntary emissions commitment in the United States.
  Amtrak serves more than 500 destinations in 46 States over 21,000 
miles of routes, and employs more than 18,000 people. Amtrak has come a 
long way since its inception in 1971 and now its beginning its 39th 
year of operation. The service has faced many challenges over the 
years, but continues to grow stronger with each passing year. Despite 
past uneven Federal investment, Amtrak has persevered, achieving many 
successes in improved operating efficiency, increased ridership, and 
higher revenue.
  In fact, in FY 2008, Amtrak set new ridership and revenue records for 
the sixth year in a row, exceeding 28.7 million passengers and $2.45 
billion in revenue. These increases are being enjoyed across Amtrak's 
entire network. In FY 2008, Amtrak held a 62 percent share of the air/
rail market between New York and Washington, and a 47 percent share of 
the air/rail market between New York and Boston, up 6 percent in each 
market from FY 2007. This increase shows that, where Amtrak is provided 
the resources to succeed, it provides a trip-time competitive 
alternative to air and car.
  At a time when jobs are being lost, the transportation network is 
getting more congested, and global climate change is taking its toll, 
supporting passenger rail has never been so critical. Recognizing the 
need for passenger rail investment, Congress passed the Passenger Rail 
Investment and Improvement Act last fall, reigniting America's 
commitment to both intercity and high-speed passenger rail. Among the 
steps taken to broaden our use of passenger rail, this legislation 
provided capital grants for Amtrak to bring the Northeast Corridor and 
other rail network infrastructure to a state-of-good-repair, encouraged 
intercity passenger rail investment through an 80-20 matching grant 
program, and created a grant program to finance the construction and 
equipment for 11 authorized high-speed rail corridors.
  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act gave high-speed and 
intercity passenger rail another immediate boost, providing $8 billion 
in capital grants to States for development of high-speed rail and 
another $1.3 billion for Amtrak. This funding is setting us on a course 
to link regions of the country with a safe, fast, and environmentally 
friendly mode of transportation. It truly is an exciting and historic 
time for our transportation network.
  Madam Speaker, I lend my strong support to Amtrak and the 
commemoration of National Train Day on May 9, 2009, and encourage all 
of my colleagues to use this excellent opportunity to reflect on the 
benefits that Amtrak and intercity passenger rail provide to our 
Nation.
  Mr. SHUSTER. I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida. I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Corrine Brown) that the House suspend the 
rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 367.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida. Madam Speaker, on that I demand the 
yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX and the 
Chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be 
postponed.

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