Bill Text: CA SJR30 | 2017-2018 | Regular Session | Amended


Bill Title: Amtrak National Network.

Spectrum: Moderate Partisan Bill (Democrat 9-1)

Status: (Introduced) 2018-08-15 - From committee: Ordered to third reading. [SJR30 Detail]

Download: California-2017-SJR30-Amended.html

Amended  IN  Senate  August 13, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Joint Resolution No. 30


Introduced by Senator McGuire
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Friedman)
(Coauthors: Senators Beall, Cannella, Dodd, Galgiani, Leyva, Pan, Roth, and Wiener)

August 09, 2018


Relative to the Amtrak National Network.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SJR 30, as amended, McGuire. Amtrak National Network.
This measure would urge the Congress and the President of the United States to support the retention of, and investment in, the Amtrak National Network of passenger trains, specifically the California Zephyr, the Coast Starlight, the Southwest Chief, and the Sunset Limited, as vital components of the state’s rail program and would also urge Amtrak management to invest in the Amtrak National Network from its annual capital grant in reasonable proportion to the revenue generated by Amtrak trains. Congress to reject President Trump’s proposed Fiscal Year 2019 federal budget cuts to Amtrak and restore full funding for the Amtrak National Network through the appropriations process.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, Amtrak was created in 1971, after years of downgrading and neglect of passenger trains by the major United States rail carriers, with the explicit purpose to provide uniform and rising standards of service for all United States citizens; and

WHEREAS, Over the last one-half century—despite political attempts to kill the service, the hostility of host rail carriers, starvation of capital investment, and chronic equipment shortages—ridership has steadily increased while operating costs have more and more been covered at the fare box; and

WHEREAS, The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) was created in 1970 to assume the common carriers’ obligations of the private railroads and provide intercity passenger rail service throughout the United States; and
WHEREAS, Amtrak’s mission is to deliver intercity transportation that helps move people, the economy, and the nation forward; and
WHEREAS, Amtrak operates a nationwide rail network, serving more than 500 destinations in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and three Canadian provinces, in addition to serving as a contractor in various capacities for several commuter rail agencies; and
WHEREAS, With the demise of small town airports and the elimination of bus service, Amtrak National Network trains are often the only form of public transportation available to thousands of small communities nationwide, and are a vital link between urban and rural America; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak National Network interstate trains, together with the regional state supported services and local commuter services, form the basis of a national passenger train network; and

WHEREAS, In the face of crumbling and overcrowded highway infrastructure, rising fuel prices, environmental degradation, crowded airports, and a rising death toll on the nation’s highways, passenger trains offer a modern, environmentally sensitive, convenient, safe, efficient, productive and relaxing way for Americans to travel from place to place, while providing good paying, meaningful employment to thousands of workers; and

WHEREAS, The State of California has a vested interest in the continued success of the local and national Amtrak network as it is home to three of the top six busiest Amtrak corridors in the nation, with approximately 70 Amtrak trains operating in California every day serving nearly 12 million riders; and
WHEREAS, Amtrak trains operating in California include both state-supported intercity routes, such as the Capitol Corridor, the Pacific Surfliner, and the San Joaquins, and Amtrak National Network trains, including the California Zephyr, running daily from the San Francisco Bay Area to Salt Lake City and Chicago; the Coast Starlight, running daily from Los Angeles to Oakland and Seattle; the Southwest Chief, running daily from Los Angeles to Albuquerque and Chicago; and the Sunset Limited, running triweekly from Los Angeles to New Orleans; and
WHEREAS, The state invests roughly $130,000,000 every year to support the three intercity service routes that provide safe commute alternatives to millions of Californians; and

WHEREAS, The current Amtrak management led by President and CEO Richard H. Anderson, formerly the head of Delta and Northwest Airlines, is in the process of closing dozens of small town train stations, downgrading food service and various amenities aboardmany trains, while threatening to eliminate other trains completely; and

WHEREAS, President Donald J. Trump has proposed to cut federal funding to Amtrak in his Fiscal Year (FY 2019) federal budget proposal; and

WHEREAS, The Amtrak National Network of long distance trains generates a third of Amtrak revenue but has received a tiny fraction of investment from Amtrak’s annual capital grant for the past two decades; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak National Network trains operate over 1,600 route miles in the State of California; and

WHEREAS, Any federal funding cuts to the Amtrak National Network could directly impact California and jeopardize passenger rail connectivity within the state and the nation; and

WHEREAS, California would lose Amtrak passenger rail connectivity between north and south if these trains ceased to operate; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak proposes to eliminate through service between Los Angeles and Chicago, known as the Southwest Chief, and substitute bus service for part of the route, and may propose to ask the states for money to operate the residual services; and

WHEREAS, Elimination of the Amtrak National Network trains will could cause overhead an increase in costs to be added to operate California’s corridor state-supported intercity passenger rail services; and
WHEREAS, The Legislature views the Amtrak National Network as a federal federally supported program and does not approve of breaking support proposals to break up the Amtrak National Network into corridors and requiring require states to pay for the service, and Californians should not have to pay twice for less service; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and the Assembly of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature urges Congress and the President of the United States to support the retention of, and investment in, the Amtrak National Network of passenger trains, specifically the California Zephyr, the Coast Starlight, the Southwest Chief, and the Sunset Limited, as vital components of the state’s rail program; and be it further
Resolved, That the Legislature urges Congress to reject President Trump’s proposed Fiscal Year 2019 federal budget cuts to Amtrak and restore full funding for the Amtrak National Network through the appropriations process; and be it further

Resolved, That the Legislature urges Amtrak management to invest in the Amtrak National Network from its annual capital grant in reasonable proportion to the revenue generated by Amtrak trains; and be it further

Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the Senate, to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States, to President and CEO Richard H. Anderson of Amtrak, to Secretary Elaine L. Chao of the United States Department of Transportation, and to the author for appropriate distribution.
feedback