On Friday, during an event at Washington DC’s Union Station, Vice President Joe Biden championed almost $440 million in infrastructure projects for Amtrak infrastructure projects to be funded by the Pelosi-Obama-Reid trillion dollar spending and debt package passed by Congress one month ago.
Biden said he was “tired of apologizing for help for Amtrak” and that “Amtrak has not been at the trough. Amtrak has been left out. Amtrak has been left out much too long, in my humble opinion.” Among the Amtrak-related projects is a $21 million rehabilitation of the train station in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
Taxpayer advocates, however, who have long been critical of expanding government funding for Amtrak, disagree with Biden. They point to the fact that Amtrak is one of the beneficiaries of “double-dipping” in the context of the “stimulus” and the recently passed omnibus appropriations bill for FY 2009.
Says taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist:
Vice President Biden is off the mark when he says that Amtrak has not been at the trough – taxpayers have had to subsidize this enterprise for decades under the promise that Amtrak would become self-sufficient, but it never has. Instead, it keeps losing money, such as $2 billion a year subsidizing food.And now we’re not only increasing funding via the appropriations bill, but also through this disgraceful ‘stimulus.’ This is an insult to taxpayers. It’s time we cut the cord, but instead we’re forcing taxpayers to pick up an even bigger tab for dumping more money into Joe Biden Railways.
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