On Friday, August 30, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer stood with Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council Chair Mark Epstein to call for a Long Island commuter representative to be appointed to Amtrak’s Board of Directors. Amtrak owns and controls New York Penn Station and the rail tunnels connecting Queens and Manhattan directly hundreds of thousands of LIRR riders daily. The LIRR’s dependence on Amtrak’s facilities has been illustrated in the six major delays and disruptions that these facilities have caused for LIRR riders this summer alone.
Senator Schumer pointed out that, despite Amtrak’s substantial impact on commuters, none of the seven appointed members of Amtrak’s Board of Directors specifically represent the needs of commuters, including those in states other than New York who ride commuter railroads that share critical infrastructure with Amtrak. Because there are more LIRR passengers who travel over Amtrak infrastructure daily than Amtrak passengers on the entire Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington DC, the Senator stated that a Long Island commuter representative should be named to the Amtrak Board to end what he called “transportation without representation.”