WASHINGTON – It's straight to the issues for some Senate Democrats.
“Amtrak needs funding. Period,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said in a news conference Thursday.
Before they head out for a week long recess, they want to make sure one thing is clear.
“Our system overall will be greatly diminished if we don't make sure that we insist on safety,” Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said.
Senator Schumer and Senator Casey spoke out Thursday. They asked for billions of dollars in safety and infrastructure upgrades they said, we desperately need.
“On the Northeast Corridor alone we need to replace bridges that are over a century old. We need to install positive train control, completely,” Schumer said.
Just a week ago an Amtrak train crashed in Philadelphia on its way to New York City. The crash killed eight and injured dozens of others.
A day later, a House panel approved a spending bill that cut funding to Amtrak by $251 million dollars.
Some Republicans have said the passenger railroad system is not profitable.
The senators on Capitol Hill saw it differently.
“The northeast corridor itself provides something along the lines of 100 million dollars of economic impact,” Casey said.
Senator Schumer and Casey support President Obama's requests for increases in passenger rail and transit.
They want to see full funding so what happened no Train 188 doesn't happen again.
"Amtrak has asked for 2 billion dollars In the coming fiscal year and we believe they should get every penny,” Schumer said.
These Senate Democrats are asking the Senate Appropriations Committee to fully fund Amtrak in the upcoming Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill.