Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Ranking Member Rick Crawford (R-AR) and Committee Republicans have requested that Amtrak address their concerns that its taxpayer-funded services will be used to alleviate a surge in border crossings expected by the proposed end to Title 42 and have asked whether Amtrak plans to use its resources to transport illegal migrants at the expense of American taxpayers and freight railroads delivering goods.
Crawford and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO), along with 17 other Committee Republicans, wrote to Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Gardner.
Joining Crawford and Graves on the letter were Reps. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Brian Babin (R-TX), Garret Graves (R-LA), Mike Bost (R-IL), Randy Weber (R-TX), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Brian Mast (R-FL), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Troy Balderson (R-OH), Pete Stauber (R-MN), Tim Burchett (R-TN), Jefferson Van Drew (R-NJ), Michael Guest (R-MS), Troy Nehls (R-TX), Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), and Carlos Gimenez (R-FL).
In their letter, they say, “We are concerned about the impact that a border surge could cause to your services and the potential use of Amtrak in the Administration’s response to its self-inflicted border crisis. The Administration-created border crisis deeply alarms Americans, including leaders from both parties, as weapons and record amounts of drugs are smuggled daily into American communities…. Despite these concerns, the Administration has continued to erode border protections, such as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), and seeks to go even farther by pressing ahead with efforts to end Title 42.”
In their letter, the Members pointed out the significant losses experienced on Amtrak’s Sunset Limited route along the United States’ southwest border, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. They noted the importance of Amtrak using its taxpayer-provided funding, including funds provided by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, to focus on maintaining and rebuilding its existing network and ridership, including the Sunset Limited line, and strive towards profitability.
“If Title 42 were to end and cause another migrant surge at the southern border, we are deeply concerned that Amtrak’s resources – especially those supporting the Sunset Limited route – will be used to transport illegal migrants. Such a situation would cause disruptions for Amtrak customers as well as interrupt freight traffic on the Union Pacific-owned track that could further exacerbate the supply chain crisis. Such actions would also constitute an unconscionable use of significant amounts of taxpayer funds and resources to aid in the movement of illegal migrants.”
The Committee Members asked for information about any discussions or planning about the potential use of Amtrak’s trains, infrastructure, and resources to transport migrants crossing from the Southern Border, including any discussions or plans with other government agencies or non-governmental organizations.
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