John McCain on Amtrak

When he still rode the Straight Talk Express it had a banner on the front: "Get on Board the McCain Train" and alas, that may be as close to a train as John McCain ever gets. He is not fond of trains; according to Derrick Jackson of the Boston Globe:

In 2000, when he was chairman of the Senate Science, Commerce and Transportation committee, McCain killed $10 billion in capital funding for Amtrak. He denounced Amtrak as a symbol of government waste, claiming, "There's only two parts of the country that can support a viable rail system - the Northeast and the far West."

In 2002, McCain said "Amtrak needs to make more progress before any further funding schemes are enacted," while at the same time calling any money for progress a "multibillion-dollar blank check." In 2002, McCain declared that "Amtrak should be restructured to eliminate its reliance on the American taxpayers and to allow for its privatization."Jackson continues:

In the section of McCain's website called "reforming our transportation sector," there is no mention of rail. There is only his clean-car challenge to automakers, his $300 million prize to design battery cars, and enforcing only existing gas mileage standards. When The Washington Post reported on how President Bush's fiscal 2006 budget did not include a subsidy for Amtrak, would kill both $20 million for the next generation of high-speed rail, and $250 million for railroad rehabilitation, it quoted McCain as saying on television, "I'm glad the president is coming over with a very austere budget." ::Boston Globe

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Tags: Trains | Transportation

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