Bay Ridge

Donovan votes against THUD bill

Package contains cuts to Amtrak, lawmaker says

June 12, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan says he was part of a group of House members that tried in vain to get Amtrak funding restored to the appropriations bill. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

The House passed a $55 billion transportation and housing bill, but the legislation passed without the support of the Republican member of the New York City delegation.

U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan said the Transportation Housing Urban Development (THUD) bill contained a $251 million cut to Amtrak.

The bill passed by a close vote of 216-210 on June 9.

“The THUD appropriations bill that came before the House yesterday contained a drastic $251 million cut to Amtrak, a cut that would severely impact travelers coming to and from New York City,” Donovan said in a statement issued on June 10. “Every year, more than 10 million people use Amtrak via Penn Station, with even more coming through Metropark and Newark. Not only is the Northeast Corridor essential to our city’s economic viability, the revenue generated subsidizes most of Amtrak’s operating budget for the entire nation.”

Donovan (R-C-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island) said that he and other members of Congress fought to have an amendment attached to the bill that would have restored at least some of the Amtrak funding, but that their effort was unsuccessful.

“I worked with my colleagues in the region on an amendment to the bill that would require revenue generated by the northeast corridor to stay there for capital projects. The passage of that amendment would have offset the cuts, allowed for critical infrastructure investments to the system and ensured mass transit options for the residents and employers of our city. Disappointingly, that amendment failed and as a result, I joined with my colleagues in the NEC in opposing this legislation,” he said.

The bill also contained cuts to the Washington D.C. Metro system.

U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Kentucky), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, issued a statement praising the THUD bill. “This is a sensible, balanced bill that prioritizes funding on important transportation programs that will boost our economy and improve our quality of life, while also providing housing options to those Americans most in need,” he said.

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The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating a horrific Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia that killed eight and left more than 200 injured on May 12. Amtrak Northeast Regional Train No. 188 was traveling to New York City when it derailed at 9:21 p.m., CNN reported.

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