Kansas Senator puts hold on nominees to Amtrak Board


Fans of Oklahoma’s Heartland Flyer will want to know that Kansas Senator Jerry Moran recently put a new hold on President Biden’s slate of Amtrak Board Nominees. His hold followed a release of a similar hold by Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.

The hold is a sign of Moran’s opposition of nominees who fail to give geographic representation to the board.

A statement by Evan Stair,  President of Passenger Rail Kansas and Passenger Rail Oklahoma showed support for Sen. Moran’s move.

Senator Tester removed his hold on Amtrak Board Nominees last week after negotiation with the Biden Administration.  As a result of the negotiation, the Biden Administration removed one Northeast Corridor (NEC) nominee from the slate, vowing to replace this candidate with someone from the western portion of the nation.

Both Senator Moran and Tester serve on the U.S. Senate Committee on Science, Commerce, and Transportation.  Over the past several years both have placed similar holds on nominees due to a lack of geographic diversity.  By law, the President must abide by 49 U.S. Code § 24302 – Board of Directors and geographic requirements.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation recently approved three nominations for the Amtrak Board of Directors, advancing those nominations to the full Senate for approval and ending a deadlock that has seen board members with long-expired terms continuing to serve, pending the approval of new nominees.

The news site Roll Call reports the committee approved, by voice vote, nominees Anthony R. Coscia, the current board chairman; Christopher Koos, mayor of Normal, Ill.; and Joel Matthew Szabat, a former Undersecretary of Transportation for Policy who was Secretary Elaine Chao’s representative on the Amtrak Board from 2019 to 2021.