Board nominee

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

tonys96

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
1,421
Location
Texas
From RPA

As with most of what happens in Washington DC, important developments seem to take place after regular business hours. Last night’s nomination by President Donald Trump is another example of “maybe nobody will notice.”

At 7:20PM Eastern last night, our policy staffers learned that President Donald Trump had nominated Todd Rokita, the former Republican Congressman for Indiana, to the Amtrak Board of Directors. They immediately began researching his voting record on rail and transit, and what they found should be concerning to every Amtrak passenger.

We found that Rokita voted against Amtrak in 8 of the 13 Amtrak-specific amendments we tracked. Some of Rokita’s most eye raising anti-Amtrak votes include:

  • 2017 – Voted YES on H.Amdt. 287 to H.R. 3354, filed by Rep. Mo Brooks, that would have eliminated funding to Amtrak’s National Network (the amendment failed).

  • 2015 – Voted YES on H.Amdt. 72 to H.R. 749, filed by Rep. Tom McClintock, that would have completely ended federal grants for Amtrak (the amendment failed).

  • 2011 – Voted YES on H.Amdt. 43 to H.R. 1, filed by Rep. Pete Sessions, would have reduced Amtrak’s capital grant by $446 million (the amendment failed).

Is this the person passengers want making policy that will direct Amtrak’s Richard Anderson on what to do with your train? Most of what board members do happens behind closed doors, but it has a big impact on the passenger experience. They establish policies, engage in corporate management and oversight, and help decide major issues addressing the railroad.
 

Amtrakfflyer

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
655
Another political hack. I don’t know what’s left to say that we haven’t already said in other threads.
The Moran meeting takes on more significance.
In the end Congress makes the calls but it will be extremely hard to see any significant improvements with the Board and management pulling one way and Congress the other.

If there really is bi partisan support in Congress for the network all 4 candidates should be voted down. Honesty I don’t even see corridors with these 4 guys.

RPA ended that letter asking for a $50 dollar donation too.
 

Dakota 400

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
3,258
Is this a position that needs to be confirmed by the Senate? If so, inform your Senators of your opinion. President Trump's two recent nominations to the Federal Reserve Board were withdrawn because of opposition from Republican Senators.
 

LookingGlassTie

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Messages
584
Location
Portsmouth, VA
I just saw the post in the AU FB group about this. Also a post in another Amtrak group I'm a part of. In both cases, the comments are getting pretty heated.

I thought that once former Rep. Mica was out of the picture, there wouldn't be anyone else who could become as big of a target as he did. :p
 

LookingGlassTie

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Messages
584
Location
Portsmouth, VA
But the question I have is, why would Anderson and the Amtrak board want to expand and improve parts of the network only to supposedly dismantle the whole thing? Is it a matter of the Northeast Corridor taking priority over LD trains? I'm genuinely curious about that.
 

Amtrakfflyer

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
655
To be blunt it’s a lie. They don’t want to expand, their plan is half baked and not even legal under current laws. They want states to pay for the expansion. The four nominees are on record for zero funding votes for Amtrak in Congress or similar comments if they weren’t in Congress. They just want to kill the national network and shift costs to states.

I remember vividly a Trump campaign speech saying “we will have a first class rail system like other countries, no more chug chug cho cho’s”. Maybe no more chug chug was code word for the Network trains?

I found the quote below from “Time magazine March 4, 2016”
 

Attachments

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Moderator
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,672
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Is this a position that needs to be confirmed by the Senate? If so, inform your Senators of your opinion. President Trump's two recent nominations to the Federal Reserve Board were withdrawn because of opposition from Republican Senators.
Yes. The other three Trump nominees have been placed on hold variously at various times by Sen Moran (R-Kan) and Schumer (D-NY). It is quite possible that this one might too.
 

tonijustine

Train Attendant
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
84
Location
Indiana
Ok, so I am going to ask for some help here. As it turns out, I know Mr. Rokita. I have the opportunity to sit down across a desk with him and would love the opportunity to talk to him about Amtrak’s future. If I did so, what would you suggest I say? What do you think he should know? What would be compelling to help him understand why intercity rail is vital?

This is going to happen, not a what if I could. I know the guy in the private sector. I don’t need political vitriol, or name calling. I want to have a respectful conversation that comes from a place of logic and reason. Will it work? I don’t know, but he knows me enough to know I am not an idiot. So there is that.
 

Amtrakfflyer

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
655
OK I’ll give it a shot.

What railroad experience does he have that would make him a good nominee? Has he ever ridden an Amtrak train? A long distance train? Acela? Does he have other travel industry experience?
How did his name get in the hat?

Does he believe Amtrak should be subsidized by the government? If so should it be federally funded or just funded by individual states that want service? if not at all why not?

What is his goal of Amtrak during his prospective term?

Does he still stand by his previous votes in Congress to shut down Amtrak? if so, why?

Does he realize ridership is still at near record levels?

Does he realize how important cohesive national network is especially to small towns all across America?

The white paper/report from RPA has pertinent facts that can be turned into questions.
 

LookingGlassTie

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Messages
584
Location
Portsmouth, VA
Ok, so I am going to ask for some help here. As it turns out, I know Mr. Rokita. I have the opportunity to sit down across a desk with him and would love the opportunity to talk to him about Amtrak’s future. If I did so, what would you suggest I say? What do you think he should know? What would be compelling to help him understand why intercity rail is vital?

This is going to happen, not a what if I could. I know the guy in the private sector. I don’t need political vitriol, or name calling. I want to have a respectful conversation that comes from a place of logic and reason. Will it work? I don’t know, but he knows me enough to know I am not an idiot. So there is that.
I like your way of thinking. The honey vs vinegar approach.
 

tonijustine

Train Attendant
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
84
Location
Indiana
OK I’ll give it a shot.

What railroad experience does he have that would make him a good nominee? Has he ever ridden an Amtrak train? A long distance train? Acela? Does he have other travel industry experience?
How did his name get in the hat?

Does he believe Amtrak should be subsidized by the government? If so should it be federally funded or just funded by individual states that want service? if not at all why not?

What is his goal of Amtrak during his prospective term?

Does he still stand by his previous votes in Congress to shut down Amtrak? if so, why?

Does he realize ridership is still at near record levels?

Does he realize how important cohesive national network is especially to small towns all across America?

The white paper/report from RPA has pertinent facts that can be turned into questions.
Some of these are good questions. I should probably clarify...I am not going to question him. His answers right now mean nothing to me. He’s not an elected official anymore. I am going to advocate for Amtrak. He has been on the Cardinal/Hoosier State (his tweet was not clear) with his son before. I want him to have in his mind that this is personal to a lot of people. That it is a vital transportation link that can’t be duplicated by other means to these rural areas. I want to share that he needs to look deeper into the accounting. Politics aside, the man is smart and I’ve found him to be reasonable. So if I can be a voice in his head that maybe gets him to think critically about “conventional Amtrak wisdom”, I will consider it a win.

I’ll check out the RPA report/white paper and see what I can glean from it. Thank you for directing me that way.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Messages
3,143
Also, perhaps point out that, as more and more older people are stopping driving, the train (especially in rural areas) may be their only way to get anywhere?

Also, I agree with LookingGlassTie--I, too, like your approach. Respectful discourse goes much farther than people today realize.
 

dlagrua

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
3,294
Location
Hillsborough, NJ
My take on this is that any Amtrak board nominee is going to vote to preserve his or her job. When it comes to Amtrak, congress alone runs the show. The rest of what we hear is just theater, a show put on for publicity. IMO, this whole argument about discontinuing long distance routes and adding more corridor routes is all BS. BTW, where is the list of new corridor routes that Anderson and the board propose to add? Has anyone even spoken to the freight railroads about track usage?
 
Top