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House overwhelmingly passes Amtrak funding bill with veto-proof majority!!

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A nearly $15 billion Amtrak bill passed the House Wednesday as lawmakers rallied around an alternative for travelers saddled with soaring gas prices.

The bipartisan bill, which passed by a veto-proof margin of 311-104, would authorize funding for the national passenger railroad over the next five years. Some of the money would go to a program of matching grants to help states set up or expand rail service.

Besides the $14.9 billion provided for Amtrak and intercity rail, an amendment to the bill would authorize $1.5 billion for Washington's Metro transit system over the next 10 years.

The White House has threatened a veto.

...

Amtrak's previous authorization expired in 2002. The railroad's supporters say a new authorization will allow Amtrak to make long-range plans and take advantage of what they say is a growing appetite for passenger rail.

The House bill includes a requirement for the Department of Transportation to seek proposals from private companies to create a high-speed service that would take travelers from Washington to New York City in two hours or less.

...

A record 25.8 million passengers took Amtrak in the last fiscal year. The railroad expects ridership to approach 28 million this year, Black said.

May was the biggest month in Amtrak's 37-year history, with total ridership up 12 percent over last year and ticket revenue up 16 percent over last year.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/amtrak_congress


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Cool.

Now we need NYC to get its act together and replace Penn Station with something more modern, and which can support higher capacity. That NJT service is appallingly unreliable - compared with the bus anyway...

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Cool.

Now we need NYC to get its act together and replace Penn Station with something more modern, and which can support higher capacity. That NJT service is appallingly unreliable - compared with the bus anyway...

Penn won't be replaced.

But it will be supplemented- http://www.accesstotheregionscore.com/


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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Cool.

Now we need NYC to get its act together and replace Penn Station with something more modern, and which can support higher capacity. That NJT service is appallingly unreliable - compared with the bus anyway...

Penn won't be replaced.

But it will be supplemented- http://www.accesstotheregionscore.com/

I've heard that there were competing proposals - that to get extra tunnels under the Hudson River they needed to dig deeper, which would mean the tunnel coming up further away. They were also planning to gut the existing station and move everything up to ground level. The sticking point from what I understand was the folks who own Madison Square Garden. The city was offering them a bigger venue (over where the main Post Office building is on 8th Ave), but that the Garden folks wanted to hang those massive billboard signs from it.

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Number 6,

Interesting. I had not heard that.

Here's what I wanna know. All these new commuters they plan to bring into lower and midtown Manhattan via the new train line and into the new station.... which sidewalks are they supposed to walk on during rush hour? As it is every time I'm stuck on that little island during rush hour I feel like I'm pushing my way through a sea of fukcing people... and they want to inject even more into it!?!?

If anything, I'd think the focus should be on expanding the core commercial zone outside of that area. Brooklyn, Queens, the Jersey Gold Coast.


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I do the bus - and surprisingly never have a problem getting into the city (I did the train for a year and delays were very common - almost always disabled trains or downed power lines). Though the turnoff to the Lincoln tunnel gives the term "bottleneck" a new meaning. As road design goes - its atrocious and incapable of handling the capacity of traffic that goes through it.

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It was designed in a different era. Menlo Park Mall in Edison was a goddamn horse farm back then. The strip mall behind it was someones home and back yard. No joke.

The wife and I went to the cinema there at the weekend. Nice mall, as mall's go...

Short Hills is the pits though - its where all the trophy wives shop, lots over made-up women in fur coats and (surprisingly) one of the worst Starbucks I've ever been to.

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It was designed in a different era. Menlo Park Mall in Edison was a goddamn horse farm back then. The strip mall behind it was someones home and back yard. No joke.

The wife and I went to the cinema there at the weekend. Nice mall, as mall's go...

Short Hills is the pits though - its where all the trophy wives shop, lots over made-up women in fur coats and (surprisingly) one of the worst Starbucks I've ever been to.

I like the mall at Bridgewater (although I'd rather not go to the mall at all) - but the traffic pattern getting in and out is twisted - literally and figuratively.

Short Hills is interesting, isn't it? I work not far, in a demographically similar community. If I go to the Starbucks near where I work at 2pm on a weekday, it's full of young milfs with their kids...


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House Approves N.Y.-D.C. Rocket Train

A two-hour rocket train between New York and Washington is a step closer to reality after the House passed legislation requiring the federal government to solicit proposals for its financing and development.

The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, which passed the House of Representatives yesterday by a vote of 311 to 104 with the backing of New York City's delegation, calls for $14.4 billion in rail investment in the next five years. Some of those funds could go toward the development of the high-speed passenger train, as well as other local projects, such as a renovated Pennsylvania Station to be named after Senator Moynihan.

The bill includes provisions that would allow the private sector to make proposals to develop, construct, and finance the high-speed rail service. It also leaves open the possibility of Amtrak bidding for, or becoming a partner in, the service.

"This should start a whole new era for rail transportation in the country, and New York is probably the biggest beneficiary of what we did," the top Republican on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. John Mica, who proposed the high-speed rail service and co-sponsored the bill, said in an interview.

Metro funding passed by House

The amendment would authorize $1.5 billion for Washington's transit system over 10 years, provided that the three jurisdictions that Metro runs through also kick in with dedicated funding.

The District of Columbia and Maryland have taken care of that, but Virginia's Metro funding was part of a state transportation package passed last year that was subsequently struck down.

Supporters of Metro have long said the federal government should play a role in maintaining and improving the aging transit system because of its location in the nation's capital and the fact that so many of its riders are federal employees.


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FINALLY! People are starting to realize that funding public transit benefits all of us. I for one *don't* think Amtrak should be required to be fiscally independent. All the bus lines have the advantage of using publically-funded infrastructure; the trains should be the same way.


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So what do the conservative freaks who post on Free Republic think about this? Surprisingly, there are supporters even there! No wonder this bill passed with such a huge margin!

*****

I say stop funding and let competition play out.

*****

They've funded the Amtrak boondoggle for years but they can't be bothered to allow drilling for more oil.

*****

‘Tis unfortunate that government is involved in almost every form of transportation now. They subsidize highways, run airport security and subsidize the airlines, and run the national passenger train network. I like trains, so if subsidizing is how we want to play the game, please do fund Amtrak.

*****

Where in the constitution does it say the government should fund personal transportation?

Just another example of pigs at the trough of my tax dollars.

*****

It's socialism on parade. Rail transportation is popular in places dominated by socialists.

*****

When are these retards going to take this dying aberration off of life support and just let it DIE?!

*****

When we went to Virginia two years ago for vacation, we stayed in Richmond and took the Amtrak to D.C. I was convenient and relatively cheap, but for anything longer than a few hour car drive, Amtrak IMHO isn’t worth it.

*****

Amtrak, quite simply, is necessary for national security reasons. We cannot be wholly dependent on flight for medium to long distance travel, and personal vehicles have serious limitations in emergency situations.

*****

For every dollar the federal government subsidizes Amtrak, it spends $3 subsidizing the airlines. If you stop funding and let competition play out, the airlines will all go out of business.

*****

We NEED, and MUST HAVE a viable National Rail (Pax and goods) System in this country. 9/11 showed just how valuable this backup can be.

*****

The "goobermint" should let Amtrak DIE and redirect the money to TSA and hire some "real" security people and start searching those who match a known "profile" instead of searching little old white ladies and cowaring at Imams threatening to sue.

*****

We used to take Amtrak to Florida, more often than not using Auto Train ... that was a great way to travel, especially with kids. You had your car when you got to your destination, but everyone wasn’t cooped up in a car for 17 hours, with the stress on the driver. Totally enjoyed that.

*****

We’re traveling from Atlanta to Boston over Christmas-willingly. Leave at 8pm, breakfast traveling through the VA countryside, NYC by 2pm, Boston by 8pm. Comfortable seats, room to walk around, no removing shoes or Lord knows what else for some TSA doofus, good meals in the diner, and best of all, no fighting Christmas airport traffic to/from ATL and BOS airports. Very very civilized. This is what happens the world over when energy prices are high-like ours. You go, Amtrak!! As predicted, it only took one good energy crisis to show your value to this country as an option to pumping $4/gallon gas into inefficient cars. You have a great opportunity to prove your worth. Don’t screw it up.

*****


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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