BOISE – An Idaho senator says he is organizing a congressional delegation to push for the return of the Amtrak Pioneer passenger train. Republican Sen. Mike Crapo, along with Rep. Mike Simpson, support plans to bring Amtrak rail service back to Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
The Amtrak Pioneer route was discontinued in these states more than 10 years ago.
A bill to boost Amtrak funding cleared the Senate in October. Crapo included an amendment in the $11.4 billion bill that required Amtrak to invesitgate reinstating all or parts of the Pioneer route. The House also approved a version of the bill and now the two chambers need to hammer out a compromise. But Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn has blocked the appointment of Senate negotiators to work with the House on a new bill.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.Y., sponsored the Amtrak bill, saying it is essential to cope with traffic congestion and high gas prices.