(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today the Bush Administration finally proposed its plan for inter-city passenger rail service. Sen. Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement.

“Today's announcement of the Bush Administration's Amtrak proposal is long on rhetoric and short on resources.

The Administration alleges that this proposal represents a significant commitment by the President to rail service. While the notion of further state involvement in passenger rail is not an inherently bad idea, this plan passes the buck to the states at the moment they can least afford it.

Whether it is Amtrak or Head Start, this Administration appears determined to saddle cash-strapped states with national responsibilities.

The President's bill is deliberately silent on the cost of his reform proposals. While the DOT is advocating a long-term plan to push the costs of Amtrak onto the states, the White House is demanding a 21 percent cut in funding next year - a cut that will put Amtrak into bankruptcy.

If the Bush White House gets its way, all the reform proposals in the world won't matter because there won't be any operating railroad to reform.

There are good reasons to reform Amtrak, but those reforms should help improve and expand Amtrak service, not just pass the bill along to someone else.”