BMWED Response to Amtrak Budget Cuts
Published: Mar 20 2017 3:00PM
On the campaign trail, candidate Donald Trump decried the state of American infrastructure. He vowed to spend $1 trillion to rebuild our nation's crumbling highways, bridges, railroads and airports, or -- as he put it -- make our country great again. If elected Chief Executive, it was Trump's promise that federal funds would be there to drive good-paying American jobs and bring our transportation into the 21st Century.
But last week, President Trump presented a "skinny budget," so terribly austere that federal funding for these projects would drop to severe lows. It is a budget that intends to defund -- misguidedly -- projects and programs that provide pivotal transportation options, spur business and economic growth and create tens of thousands of good American jobs. It does the exact opposite of what he promised.
Of course, Trump's budget cuts to rail projects -- most notably Amtrak -- but also high-speed rail projects in Texas and California, are of most concern to our union. BMWED members stand to significantly lose if projects, such as the multi-billion-dollar Gateway Tunnel under the Hudson River in New York City or Amtrak's national network enhancement, providing improved rail service and track upgrades to 23 states, are eliminated.
President Trump has said repeatedly that American railroads are lagging far behind other countries. He has frequently referenced our rail infrastructure to that in Europe and Japan, noting that American trains and railroads are "obsolete" -- his word -- in comparison.
Trump called for a major-scale infrastructure investment, but this budget proposal is exactly the opposite. Pinching funding for railroads, bridges, highways and airports will only exacerbate our country's modernization decline. Congress must reject this budget and its across the board cuts to transportation. Investment in our infrastructure is critical, not only for the BMWED and its members, but for our entire citizenry.
President Trump: keep your promise. Fund railroads. Fund Amtrak. Sustain and create viable American jobs. Move us forward. Our members can do the work and do it well. Give us the jobs to perform.