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On behalf of the 280,000 members of Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), I urge you to vote YES on Representative Pete Sessions’ Amendment to the 2004 Transportation and Treasury Appropriations bill to require Amtrak to stop subsidizing grossly unprofitable routes.
After absorbing taxpayer subsidies totaling $33 billion over the past thirty years (Wall Street Journal), Amtrak was required to achieve operational self-sufficiency by December 2, 2002. That has not happened; instead Amtrak continues to consume over a billion dollars a year in taxpayer funding. It is time for change.
Amtrak’s own profit/loss ratios for each of their routes show that only 2 routes generated a profit in 2001, while the other 37 did not. Amtrak is an embarrassing example of continued mismanagement and waste.
Rep. Sessions’ amendment is a modest effort to place a rational limit on how much taxpayers should be forced to subsidize this boondoggle. The Sessions’ Amendment would strip funding for any Amtrak route where the 2001 “Operating Ratio” – defined as expenses over revenues (plus state subsidies) – is greater than 2.0. This means that taxpayers will no longer have to fund passenger rail service in FY’04 on routes that fail to recoup 50 cents for every dollar spent.
The Sessions’ Amendment makes business sense and will save taxpayers millions of dollars. It is a step in the right direction—we’d like to see an end to all taxpayer subsidies, given the current $400 billion budget deficit, and in light of Amtrak’s repeated failure to achieve mandated operational self-sufficiency.
CSE will count the vote on the Sessions Amendment as a KEY VOTE to be reported to our members in your state. This KEY VOTE will be used to determine your eligibility for our Jefferson Award, to be presented at the conclusion of the 108th Congress. This award is provided to those legislators who espouse the CSE principles of limited government, lower taxes, and more freedom.
President and CEO
Citizens for a Sound Economy