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Senate committee advances nomination of Rokita for Amtrak board NEWSWIRE

By | November 15, 2019

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WASHINGTON — The nomination of former U.S. Rep Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) to Amtrak’s board of directors will move to the U.S. Senate after being approved on a voice vote in committee this week.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved the nomination earlier this week. President Donald Trump nominated Rokita in May for a five-year term on the board [see “Trump to nominate former Indiana congressman Rokita to Amtrak board,” Trains News Wire, May 9, 2019.]

Rokita served as a congressman from 2011 to 2019. He twice voted to defund Amtrak. In July testimony before the committee, he said the votes were to “send a message.”

WRTV News quotes Rokita as saying during that committee appearance, ““Sometimes in sending a message, we’re limited to yes, to no or to present. I believe in fiscal responsibility for all of us. I believe my votes against these funding provisions sent a message to Amtrak.” He also noted he had voted for the 2015 FAST Act, which helped create grant funding for Amtrak.

Still pending, according to the U.S. Congress website, are the nominations of Rick Dearborn, a former deputy chief of staff for President Trump; Joseph R. Gruters, a former Florida state representative who was co-chair of the president’s 2016 campaign in Florida, and former U.S. Rep. Leon A. Westmoreland of Georgia, who also voted twice to defund Amtrak. All have had their nominations placed on hold by U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

4 thoughts on “Senate committee advances nomination of Rokita for Amtrak board NEWSWIRE

  1. US code 24302 deals with the Amtrak board. Section (a) (1) (C) state ” 8 individuals appointed by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, with general business and financial experience, experience or qualifications in transportation, freight and passenger rail transportation, travel, hospitality, cruise line, or passenger air transportation businesses, or representatives of employees or users of passenger rail transportation or a State government.” In my opinion none of the Trump nominees, and few of the current board members meet these qualifications. Just another of Amtrak’s problems.

  2. The Amtrak board is being purposely infiltrated with anti-Amtrak people in order to kill Amtrak from within. In regards to Todd Rokita and others like him,” tigers rarely changes their stripes”.

  3. Given the propensity to utilize the Amtrak Board as a convenient dumping ground for failed politicians, Potomac hacks, and Northeastern developers with their own agenda, it is time to focus attention upon the failed Board that defies the initial Railpax legislation requiring members with relevant experience to provide that level of expertise as stewards of Amtrak.

    In essence, as I have previously published in RAILWAY AGE, the Board should be totally eliminated with the FRA providing the requisite oversight and direction. At least under the current FRA administrator, we can anticipate accountability in its truest sense; while rehabilitating Amtrak’s executive management to view their role within the scope of a national network.

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