76th Annual  Meeting
The U.S. Conference of Mayors
76th Annual Meeting
June 20-24, 2008



WHEREAS, highways and airports are increasingly congested; and

WHEREAS, in highly populated regions Amtrak trains and infrastructure help more than 800,000 commuters to and from work every day in congested metropolitan areas providing a reliable rail option, reducing congestion on roads and in the skies; and

WHEREAS, the Texas Transportation Institute has estimated Americans spend more than 4 billion hours annually in traffic and the FAA has estimated airport delays cost the economy more than $10 billion; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak service removes 8 million cars from the road and eliminates the need for 50,000 fully-loaded passenger airplanes each year; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak annually provides intercity passenger rail travel to more than 25 million Americans residing in 46 states;and

WHEREAS, May ridership was nearly 2.6 million—up 12.3% from May 2007

WHEREAS, May 2008 was the highest, single month in Amtrak history both for ridership and revenue

WHEREAS, traveling by passenger rail is energy efficient, contributing 18 percent less per passenger mile to greenhouse gas emissions than either cars or airplanes, according to the U.S. Department of Energy; and

WHEREAS, when combined with all modes of transportation, passenger railroads emit only 0.2 percent of the travel industry’s total greenhouse gases; and

WHEREAS, the Northeast Corridor is home to the busiest, most complex, technically advanced track structures in the world with over 2, 600 trains each weekday including freight trains, commuter trains, and intercity passenger trains; and

WHEREAS, the Northeast Corridor links 91 cities, and serves a population of 49.5 million people; and

WHEREAS, an average of 750,000 passengers take trains which use the Northeast Corridor each day; and

WHEREAS, between certain cities in the Northeast, like New York City and Washington, DC, more travelers choose to take the train than to fly on a commercial airline; and

WHEREAS, Acela Express ridership was up 2.4% since May 2007 on the Northeast Corridor; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak Regional ridership was up 12.4% on the Northeast Corridor; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak owns and operates 363 miles of the Northeast Corridor between Washington, DC, and Boston, MA; and

WHEREAS, railroad stations in our communities provide a source of civic pride and a tool for economic growth; and

WHEREAS, passenger rail has been undercapitalized in this country; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak has demonstrated sound fiscal stewardship by taking positive steps to reduce costs, streamline corporate structure and dramatically increase the transparency of Amtrak's fiscal condition,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors supports the passage of federal legislation recognizing the current Amtrak system as a national asset and encourages the development of higher speed rail corridors throughout the country to enhance our transportation network, and recognizes the Northeast Corridor as a national asset.