CNN Pushes for Amtrak Funding with Senate Assistant Majority Leader's New Bill

August 21st, 2008 5:02 PM

So if a government program has been failing for decades, should you A) Privatize it, B) Get rid of it altogether, or C) Throw millions of dollars at it and hope that Americas somehow feel compelled to reenact scenes from "Some Like it Hot."

The answer is C if you were watching CNN this morning.

"American Morning" pointed out that high gas prices were the reason ridership on Amtrak was up 14 percent and then pushed for more funding for the government-sponsored program through a recent Senate proposal.

"The problem for Amtrak of course though is that they haven't had a single new passenger car since 1990," said personal finance editor Gerri Willis on the August 21 broadcast. "Their cars, even the locomotives are old and aging; they're asking Congress for help. Dick Durbin has introduced legislation into the Senate to try and do something about that. Interestingly he says that Thanksgiving is going to be a wake up call for Americans as we all try to go visit relatives for the holidays."

"What they need is new track, because every Sunday it's like this all the way up," said co-host John Roberts simulating a bumpy train ride with his anchor chair.

Co-host Kiran Chetry pointed out, "They need more track too. I mean not just the trains, because a lot of those routes. They need to be able to get more people moving."

The segment didn't include any opponents of government funding of Amtrak.

The "Train CARS Act," which was announced July 29 encourages train car production by authorizing Amtrak to issue up to $2.8 billion in bonds over four years to finance train car projects.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., promoted the "Train CARS Act" August 21 at an Amtrak maintenance facility in Chicago, saying "The most cost-effective alternative in our part of the world is passenger rail," as reported in the Chicago Sun Times.

Durbin said he hopes the bill will encourage rail car production to occur in Illinois.