Perry Joins Inquiry into Biden Campaign use of Taxpayer-Funded Amtrak
Harrisburg, October 21, 2020
U.S. Representative Scott Perry (PA-10) joined Republican Members of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, including Ranking Member of the Railroads, Pipeline, and Hazardous Materials Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01), today to request information from Amtrak regarding the Biden campaign’s use of the taxpayer-funded rail service, and whether the campaign received any special treatment, interfered with freight train operations, or diverted critical resources from the struggling passenger rail service’s normal operations.
The Biden campaign has used Amtrak in its activities and portrayal of its candidate, including a recent Amtrak charter train on a tour through Pennsylvania and Ohio that included multiple campaign stops. The letter requests information about the campaign’s use of Amtrak, noting that Amtrak’s guidelines state that charter trains are not part of its "primary objective," and that chartered trains must not impact regular operation and, "must generate sufficient financial benefit for Amtrak to justify the Amtrak resources and assets."
"American taxpayers support the operations of Amtrak to the tune of nearly $2 billion a year, making it a legal requirement to serve the American people," said Congressman Perry. "At a time when Amtrak, like many businesses, is experiencing reduced ridership and scarce resources, we must ensure this taxpayer-supported service prioritizes the needs of the American people, not a political campaign."
The Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials is responsible for the Congressional oversight of Amtrak and the letter is intended to ensure the interest of the American taxpayers was protected during the Biden campaign’s use of the service. The letter reads, in part:
"We are concerned that the Biden campaign’s use of Amtrak’s charter train redirected Amtrak’s scarce resources during a time of record losses, employee layoffs, and service cuts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, Amtrak has started cutting its workforce by roughly 2,000 employees. On October 1, 2020, it began sharp reductions in several of its routes due to the drop in ridership and the need to conserve resources. Amtrak also more than doubled its original congressional funding request for Fiscal Year 2021 to an unprecedented $4.9 billion to maintain service through the year. We are concerned that the apparent use of a struggling, resource-deprived, publicly-run service for political gain does not serve the best interests of Amtrak or the American taxpayers at this time."
The full text of the letter can be found by clicking here.
Rep. Scott Perry serves on the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials within the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.