Democrats at 30th Street Station blast GOP Amtrak platform

Some of those who support continued federal funding of Amtrak and are opposed to putting the rail system into private hands gather at 30th Street Station on Wednesday.
Some of those who support continued federal funding of Amtrak and are opposed to putting the rail system into private hands gather at 30th Street Station on Wednesday.
Posted: September 21, 2012

SEVERAL supporters of President Obama's re-election campaign chose 30th Street Station as the backdrop Wednesday to lambaste Mitt Romney for his proposal to end federal funding for Amtrak if he is elected president.

"There is a clear choice between investment and outright chaos," said state Rep. Tony Payton Jr., who was joined by several Democratic mayors from Massachusetts, where Romney was governor. "The time to invest in infrastructure is now."

During the Republican National Convention last month, Romney adopted a platform calling for full privatization and an end to government subsidies that support programs like the nation's passenger-rail operator.

Supporters at the news conference noted that Amtrak employs 2,670 Pennsylvania residents, buys $180 million in Pennsylvania products annually and distributes more than $200 million in state wages.

"Amtrak represents a communal investment in American infrastructure that supports middle-class jobs and catalyzes economic growth," Payton said. "It is a perfect example of a company that is strengthening our nation here at home."

Cornelius Young, 71, a retired 25-year Amtrak employee, labeled the station's existence as a critical hub in the community.

"I have seen firsthand the importance," Young said. "Residents in Philadelphia rely on Amtrak for an efficient, affordable and accessible means of transportation."

Kate Meriwether, communications director of Pennsylvania for Romney, said in an email: "Governor Romney believes that America should have a robust passenger rail system wherever it is economically viable, but he is not willing to borrow money that our children will have to pay back."


Contact Andrew Eiser at 215-854-2513 or eisera@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @andrew_eiser.

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