.June 16, 1912 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD- SE~ATE s 9581
r" Mr. MANSFIELD ~. Pre ident, will
the Senator yield?
Mr. CASE. I am happy to yield such
time as he may require to t 1e majority
Mr. MANSFIELD. I thank the distinguished
Mr. President. Amtrak is now over a
year old and its success or failure ha;;
not as yet been firmly established. The
continuation of passenger train service
for most Americans Is a very important
matter. As I have indicated in t..'le past,
the Nation's railroads were abandoning
their historic role in this regard.
I have had high hopes for Amtrak and,
quite frankly, they have done some innovative
things in this very brief tin1e.
Amtrak has embarked up:m some in1-
aginative high-speed railroad service in
densely populated commuter areas. However,
I wish the success story of Amtrak
in the less populated sections of the country
like Montana was as glowing When
the original routes for A'lltro.k were
adopted, they dec1ded to operate passenger
train service across the northern tier
of Montana which denied sPrv1ce to the
vast majority of the State. After some
discussion, Amtrak was convinced that
they should reinstate passenger tram
service across the southern route, known
as the Northern Pacific Line, on a 3-day
a week basis. This decision was made fm
a 15-month penod on a use-it-or-lose-it
concept. I do not d1sagree with this but
I do believe that the users should be given
some encouragement in demonstrating
how much they will want and use this
passenger service. This has not been the
case in Montana. I do not believe the 15-
month period, which will come to an end
in September, was a fair test as to how
well the people of Montana will use passenger
train service. They have been using
this service despite the concerted
effort of the railroads to discourage
Almost every day I receive one or two
letters from Montana complaining about
poor service by Amtrak for the State,
poor schedules, later arrivA.ls, discourteous
personnel, inability to obtain reservations
when tra~ns are obviously not
full. All the complaints would indicate
that there is little desire to build up traffic
on the southern route. I am aware
that Amtrak has not had tin1e to develop
improved equipment and service
throughout the entire system and I
am confident that when Amtrak completely
takes over from the previous railroad
operators, things will improve. We
cannot have a fair test as to how people
from Montana will use this passenger
service until such time as Amtrak upgrades
its system in this area as well as
the rest of the Nation.
Mr. President, I would like to ask the
able chairman of the Senate Subcommittee
on Department of Transportation Appropriations,
the junior Senator from
West Virginia (Mr. ROBERT C. BYRD), if
he has received any indication from Amtrak
officials as to whether they intend to
extend the use-it or lose-it period for the
southern route from Minneapolis to Seattle
through Montana. Would the chairman
agree that Amtrak should not only
concentrate on the glamorous experimental
ser'l'ice but must make a deter-
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 48, Folder 28, Mansfield Libary, University of Montana
s 9582 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD -SENATE
mined effort to upgrade passenger 5en:ce
to the less populated areas of the Nation?
Mr. ROBERT C. BYRD. Mr. President.
~ do agree \\i'h the statement of the ctistmguished
majority le2.der. The majonty
lPader wrote to me, as chairman of the
Appropri.:..lions Subcommittee on the Department
of Transportation. He also
spoke to me on behalf of himself and his
distinguished junior colleague regarding
The matter was discussed with Amtrak
officials by the committee staff, the matter
was discus5ed v.ith high officials in the
Department by me, and the matter was
discussed by me with the Secretary of the
DepartmE>nt of Transportation. May I
say that out of those discussions I am enc
·om·aged .to believe that what the distinguished
majority leader hopes to
achieve will be accomplished. It is my
understanding that a decision by Amtrak
Will be made in July or August. The word
used by a high official in the :pepartment-
I will not use his name-w~ "optimistic,"
indicating that he was optimistic,
of course without being bound in
The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time
on the bill has expired.
Mr ROBERT C. BYRD. Mr. President.
I ask unanimous consent to proceea
for 1 additional minute.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without
obJection it is so ordered.
Mr. ROBERT C. BYRD. He could not
make a binding promise, but he was
optimistic; and from that I am encouraged,
may I say to my leader and I shall
do everything I can to pursue this matter
Moreover, may I say, in response to the
distinguished Senator from Connecticut
1 Mr. WEICKER) that there was no budget
request for this item. It was dif'l'ussed in
committee, however, in the light of the
correspondence receil'ed from the able
Senator from Connecticut. I appreciate
the fact that he is not offering a.n amendment
today to add moneys for Amtrak. It
is for this reason that I ha\'e assured
him that I will do e\ erything I can to
see that the moneys are put in the supplemental
bill, provided a budget estimal.
e comes up. If the committee docs
not put the money in, we will have a
\ ot.e on the floor in response to his effort.
The PRESIDING OFFICER All time
::\tfr. ROBERT C. BYRD. Mr. President,
I ask unanimous consent to proceed for
1 additional minute.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without
objection. it is so ordered.
Mr. MANSFIELD. :\fr. PrE'.·ident, I am
\cry much encouraged by what the dJs!
mguished chairman of the subcomrni ttPe
has just said. I am sure it is concurred
in by the ranking Republican
member. the distinguished Senator from
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