Release #06-14—September 8, 2006
Washington, D.C.—The National Association of Railroad Passengers issued the following statement today by President George L. Chilson regarding President Bush’s nomination of Mary Peters to be the Secretary of Transportation:
“I commend the Bush Administration for nominating Mary Peters to lead USDOT. Her comprehensive vision of transportation makes her an excellent choice.
“I had the pleasure of working with her when she was director of the Arizona Department of Transportation. I found her to be smart, creative and action oriented as well as open minded and willing to listen. I was most impressed by the fact that she had a strong belief in multi-modal transportation.
“I believe she understands that rail will become an increasingly important component of our transportation system as we confront the dual challenges of intractable congestion and rising oil prices. Rail represents a strategic solution that will help preserve America’s mobility, quality of life and competitive position in a global economy as we adapt to new realities.
“If confirmed as Secretary of Transportation by the Senate, she will have an important opportunity to broaden the scope of federal transportation policy beyond its traditional emphasis on highway & air transportation. Her talent for finding common ground among competing and diverse interests makes such an important change possible.
“There is increasing recognition that public investment in rail infrastructure is essential just for freight railroads to maintain their existing market-share, much less increase it as most Americans including DOT officials would like. Maintenance and growth of rail’s market share is critical for maximizing safety, fluidity and energy efficiency of our national transportation system, and for minimizing that system’s environmental impacts.
“The Alameda Corridor in southern California and the CREATE project in Chicago are happy exceptions to an overall pattern of federal non-involvement in rail infrastructure investment. Railroad trackage in the New Orleans area has needs similar to those in Chicago. One of Peters’ challenges will be to make critical investments in rail the rule rather than the exception. We look forward to working with her on this.
“If Mrs. Peters succeeds in finding ways that incorporate rail within the scope of federal transportation policy and planning—-as I believe she will—-her appointment will prove to be a transforming event that will serve the American people well for generations to come.”
NARP is the only national organization speaking for the users of passenger trains and rail transit. We have worked since 1967 to expand the quality and quantity of passenger rail in the U.S. Our mission is to work towards a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. Our work is supported by approximately 20,000 individual members.