Letter to Congress | President.
WASHINGTON (January 24, 2002) - Calling development of a national rails policy "essential for our economy and our security," the nation's mayors today urged President Bush to support reauthorization of Amtrak, the nation's passenger rail carrier, and to develop a national rails policy that includes expanded inter-city passenger service.
Most of the approximately 300 mayors from across the nation meeting in Washington today boarded a special Acela Express train to New York. They will continue their 70th annual Winter Meeting in New York in a show of support for the city and its new mayor. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to greet the mayors upon their arrival at Penn Station.
"Mayors from across the country are riding the train to New York City today to demonstrate our bipartisan support for the reauthorization of Amtrak and for the establishment of a national passenger rail system," said New Orleans President Marc Morial, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, who joined Amtrak President George Warrington for a Union Station press conference. "We need expanded passenger rail service not only in inner cities but also in the suburbs and rural areas to alleviate traffic congestion in our cities and increase economic development opportunities in our communities."
Even before the September 11 attack demonstrated that the nation should not depend too heavily on any single mode of transportation, the nation's mayors were advocates of expanded rail service. Last year, the U.S. Conference of Mayors hosted a National Rails Summit, urging President Bush and the Congress to make expanding passenger rail opportunities a top priority.
The Conference released a poll in January 2001 that showed strong public backing from residents outside of urban areas for passenger rail investment and overwhelming support (82%) for the creation of a rail service network as an alternative to driving.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are about 1,139 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.
Andy Solomon (202) 861-6766