TRENTON – Senator Nicholas Sacco, the Senate’s leading transportation expert, called on Republican leaders in Washington to adequately fund Amtrak after power problems on the Northeast Corridor once again caused morning rush hour delays on NJ Transit trains.
“Once again today, we’re seeing the result of six years of near criminal underfunding by the Bush Administration of New Jersey’s transportation infrastructure,” said Senator Sacco, D-Bergen and Hudson and Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “The crumbling state of our railroads is jeopardizing the health and well-being of passengers who rely on our trains to get them safely around the State every day.”
“At no time is it acceptable for someone to sit an extra 90 minutes on a train because the federal government has decided it’s not important to maintain our railroads. We need leaders in the White House and Congress who understand the importance of our rails to millions of commuters and want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem,” Senator Sacco added.
The Senator’s committee held a public hearing on June 19 to question Amtrak officials about a power outage on the Northeast Corridor line that stopped trains throughout the region for several hours. When asked about how much money the federal government was shortchanging Amtrak for capital repairs and improvements, the officials refused to give a concrete number. It is estimated that billions of dollars are needed simply to modernize the system and make necessary repairs to the infrastructure.
“Anyone wanting to lodge a complaint about the condition of our railways should look no further than President Bush and his Congressional Republican colleagues,” explained Senator Sacco. “They’re in charge of federal funds and time and time again they have failed to provide the money needed to keep our rail lines in top shape. If they won’t help New Jersey, they should get out of the way.”