Crawford Statement from Hearing on Amtrak & U.S. Passenger Rail Service
Opening remarks, as prepared, of Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Ranking Member Rick Crawford (R-AR) from today’s hearing entitled,” Amtrak Now and Into the Future”:
As this Committee begins work to reauthorize surface transportation programs, it is critically important to explore options to improve passenger rail service while reducing costs.
My district is served by Amtrak’s Texas Eagle long-distance route, with one station located at Walnut Ridge. I know that on-time performance has been challenging for this route, among others, and I look forward to hearing how on-time performance can be improved.
While passenger rail moves fewer people than other modes, Congress must foster an environment that embraces innovation, provides flexibility, and makes rail service more competitive and financially viable.
I also am interested to hear about the future railroad route network envisioned by Amtrak and state railroad agencies supporting or interested in supporting state services. Today we will hear about such a rail agency with direct experience working with Amtrak as an operator and with private contractors as operators.
I look forward to discussing ideas on contracting as a way to provide the highest level of service at the lowest possible costs.
Finally, railroad innovation leads to new technologies that make operations safer and more efficient. In turn, the rail network can handle increased demand and help relieve congestion on our roads.
Thank you to all of our witnesses for being here today.
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