It would seem that the government is looking into the use of trains as an alternative means of travel. Looking and focusing on alternative means of travel looks more logical as the price of oil per barrel continues to climb. At the same time, the price of fuel per gallon continues to increase. Many have said that a weakening US dollar is to thank for the surge in oil prices.
Also, the price of gas has been blamed for the skyrocketing cost of food. There have been initiatives for the creation and production of ethanol. That too has been blamed for the skyrocketing food costs. Now, it seems that the US Congress is looking at Amtrak as an answer for alternative travel.
Recently, the United States House of Representatives have passed a bill that will give almost $15 billion in funding to Amtrak. This would give funding to Amtrak for the next five year with some of the money to be used to expand service through many states. Another $1.5 billion will also be used to help with the Washington DC Metro system for the next 10 years.
This bill has received bipartisan support in the US House by 311 to 104. Thus, it would seem to make the bill veto-proof. The United States Senate had passed a similar bill. Also, there is enough support in the Senate to override a veto. The White House has already threatened a veto on the grounds that it does not hold Amtrak accountable for the spending of the funds.
But, it would seem that a White House veto is not going to have any effect. So far, this bill has overwhelming supporting from both houses of Congress. Democrats and Republicans have united together in support.
“Nothing could be more fitting to bring before the Congress today, on a day when gasoline has reached $4.05 a gallon across the United States on average,” said Republican Representative John Mica of Florida. Mica himself has been a longtime critic of Amtrak. But approval from a critic gives of the indication that the bill may have some potential.
There are some differences in both bills. Under the House bill, the Department of Transportation would have to seek proposals from companies to create a high-speed service. Mica highly supports the idea and says it is a good way for the United States to catch up with both Europe and Asia. Under this plan, one could get from New York to Washington DC in under two hours.
One could see an extension of Amtrak in the near future.