April 21, 2014

Amtrak Chair Carper gains boost from Senate leader

amtrak locomotive; amtrak car; amtrakAmtrak Board Chairman Tom Carper has won endorsement from Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) for renomination by President Obama. That nomination would require Senate confirmation.

Carper, a former mayor of McComb, Ill., has served on the Amtrak board since March 2008 and has been its chairman since January 2009.

Said Durbin in his letter to Obama, “Amtrak has made incredible progress under Chairman Carper’s leadership. Amtrak has broken all-time records for ridership, revenue and on-time performance during his tenure. Amtrak has also reduced costs significantly; outstanding debt has been reduced by over $1 billion and operating subsidies have been reduced by nearly $100 million.

“Chairman Carper has also helped under a new spirit of cooperation with Amtrak employees,” wrote Durbin to the president. “As you know, Tom Carper shares your vision to bring the next generation of high speed passenger rail to the United States. I believe nominating and confirming Tom Carper to another term on the Amtrak Board of Directors will help move us closer to achieving this vision.”

When Carper was confirmed to his first term on the Amtrak board in 2008, former UTU Illinois State Legislative Director Joe Szabo – now the federal railroad administrator – said Carper had a history of supporting expansion of rail passenger service in Illinois. “Tom comes to Amtrak with a level of experience and grounding in passenger rail that far exceeds that of the typical Amtrak board appointee, and his understanding of Amtrak’s political environment is second to none,” Szabo said at the time.