Bennett Supports Ending Amtrak Service in Utah

Bennett Supports Ending Amtrak Service in Utah

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Sen. Bob Bennett has supported ending Amtrak service in Utah and using those federal subsidies to support the railroad in areas that have heavier passenger demand.

"I will be happy to contribute that portion of Amtrak's budget that goes to maintain rail service in Utah to the state of New Jersey where they need it," Bennett said during a floor debate Tuesday.

"If necessary, in Utah we can come up with one bus per week which has enough capacity to handle all of the Amtrak passengers that come through our state," said Bennett. A copy of his taped remarks was obtained by the Standard-Examiner's Washington office.

It doesn't make sense for the federal government to subsidize Amtrak routes in remote sections of the country, such as in Utah where fewer than 100 people use the service each week, Bennett said.

"Rail passenger service across very large numbers of miles between cities that don't naturally connect to each other simply doesn't make sense," he said. "Amtrak in the Northeast corridor makes all the sense in the world, and we must do everything we can to make sure we preserve it."

Bennett said that whenever he speaks out on the issue, he gets a lot of angry letters.

"I get a flurry of letters ... and they are all from the same people. Their objections all come down to nostalgia for the rail service that we all knew when we were young," he said.

"But I cannot under any sense defend the expenditure of maintaining a national network ... for the name of saying ... isn't that wonderful you can get on rail and go all the way across the country when it is very clear nobody wants to in any kind of quantity," he said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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