We the few, who will actually go and talk to the Senators and Congressmen in April face to face, cannot go in with the assumption that something will be cut. That cannot be our starting position, 'cause then something will definitely get cut. Even those that are writing their Congresspeople, please do not tell them that well it is OK to cut half the trains. Stick to your guns and say nothing should be cut, if you feel we should keep Amtrak happy and healthy to the best of our abilities.
Absolutely. If anything, the opposite approach should be used. "Ridership is up! Equipment is getting older and more costly to maintain; therefore the budget should be increased, not zeroed out!"
I will repeat: not only is this budget *completely* DOA in Congress, it doesn't even represent what Trump wants. I am absolutely sure he didn't even read it. It was just Xeroxed from some Heritage Foundation document.
Call your Congressman and demand full funding for Amtrak (and whatever else is cut in the "idiots' budget" proposed by the Trump administration). Heck, call Trump. The "idiots' budget" is sufficiently contrary to Trump's repeatedly stated desires that we know he won't fight for it and might fight against it.
In fact, I'd suggest pointing out to your Congressman that Trump wants more funding for infrastructure and specifically wants high speed trains. Regardless of what the "idiots' budget" presented by his staffers says.
To piggyback on the above, the sentiment is sound but the approach is somewhat lacking. Using the Bernie Approach is less effective in real life than it sounds on the stump. "Demanding" things rarely gets a positive response, particularly from someone not motivated to give it to you in the first place. Likewise, terms such as "idiots' budget" does not predispose one to think in positive terms about the situation.
Let's assume, at least for a moment, the most positive things about POTUS and the budget. (Yes, I know that's a Herculean task for some.) Let's assume that what was said on the campaign trail was true and that the President values passenger rail transport and let's also assume that he is sincere in funding and rebuilding infrastructure. Let's additionally assume that POTUS has not read details about the budget.
Now let's tie that into talking points for the people making the decision. When Congressman Dontreallygiveacarp says something like "I agree with the budget proposal as presented by the Administration and its goals" then a rejoinder might be "Are you aware of what President Trump said about passenger rail and infrastructure during the campaign?" "Don't you feel that he was somewhat correct in needing to rebuild our infrastructure and focus on things at home?" At this point few would say that what has been stated is an unreasonable goal or say "I think we should take the long distance rail budget and put it towards more foreign aid" so then facts can be presented about passenger numbers, effect on smaller communities with few travel options, and how infrastructure is a national issue and how rebuilding it puts America Back To Work and helps strengthen both the economy and the elements which keep it moving, etc, etc.
By that time, there should be food for thought for someone who might not have given it much thought at all and who would be otherwise inclined to just say "no" to anything other than the budget as presented. This approach works on both people making the sausage as well as those selecting the sausage to send out into the marketplace. You've given them a reason or two to fund passenger rail on terms they can reconcile with their own principles which in turn they can go home to proclaim how they furthered the President's agenda (or in the case of opponents, say they furthered their goals to benefit the American people despite the 'draconian' budget originally presented). Heck, if they get constituent contact which says "thank you for giving me a choice in my transportation options" and they can say they were happy to do so and are proud to have always supported such things as passenger rail, let 'em. They can lie about their support, but as long as it's there and the objective was met, it doesn't really make a difference.
Edited by RSG, 21 March 2017 - 05:49 AM.