# Mass Transit

Boswell Pushing for Expanding Amtrak in Iowa

Rep. Leonard Boswell is pushing for a feasibility study of Amtrak service from Chicago through Iowa to Omaha.

Iowa's Third District Congressman Leonard Boswell has asked that AMTRAK study the feasibility of extending a proposed Chicago to the Quad Cities passenger train not only to Iowa City and Des Moines, but also on west to Council Bluffs and Omaha. This is the first time that AMTRAK has been asked by a government official to consider extending service beyond Des Moines. AMTRAK, at the request of the Iowa Department of Transportation, is looking at the feasibility of a Des Moines to the Quad Cities and Chicago train. […]

If passenger train services returns in Iowa between the Quad Cities and Council Bluffs-Omaha, it would use the former Rock Island line. Cities along the route from the Mississippi River to the Missouri River include Davenport, Iowa City, Grinnell, Newton, Des Moines, and Atlantic.

I am definitely on board with this idea.

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House passes economic stimulus bill, no thanks to Republicans

The House of Representatives passed an $819 billion economic stimulus bill today by a vote of 244-188. Here is the roll call. Iowa Democrats Bruce Braley (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Leonard Boswell (IA-03) all voted with the majority. Republicans unanimously opposed the bill, including Tom Latham (IA-04) and Steve King (IA-05), and 11 “Blue Dog” Democrats also voted no.

All the news reports have emphasized that not a single Republican voted for this package, even though President Barack Obama tried hard (too hard if you ask me) to bring them on board.

It reminds me of 1993, when Congressional Republicans unanimously opposed President Bill Clinton’s first budget. The GOP seems to be banking on running against Democrats’ management of the economy in the midterm elections. For that reason, I think it’s foolish for Democrats to try to cater to Republicans. Passing a stimulus bill that truly helps the economy should be paramount.

I’ll update this post later with more details about what made it into the House bill and what got left behind. I’m pleased to note that an amendment significantly increasing mass transit funding passed. A Siegel tells you which Democrats deserve particular credit for this achievement. By the way, mass transit is not just for large cities.

UPDATE: Congressman Loebsack’s office sent out a release with a long list of provisions in the stimulus bill. I’ve posted it after the jump, so click “there’s more” if you want all the details.

The top point of the release is that Loebsack successfully pushed for school modernization funds to be included in the stimulus package.

At the very end of the press release, you’ll see that the stimulus bill “Prevents [Illinois] Governor [Rod] Blagojevich from directing the use of funds provided in the package.” I understand why people would worry about him administering any funds earmarked for Illinois, but I am with Adam B: this provision is tantamount to “bribing the jury” of Illinois senators who are considering impeachment charges against Blagojevich.

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