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Coalition urges Congress to fund rail initiatives

On Friday, the OneRail Coalition announced it's urging Congress to fully fund the Federal Railroad Administration’s grant programs in fiscal-year 2011.

In a letter recently sent to House and Senate appropriators, the coalition requested that Congress increase funding for high-speed intercity passenger rail to the House-endorsed 2010 level of $4 billion; provide the full amount of Amtrak’s $2.6 billion funding request; provide $11 million to help railroads fulfill the federal mandate to install positive train control; and allocate $40 million for rail infrastructure improvements.

Sustained investment in rail over time would “avoid the boom/bust cycles that uneven funding creates” and would “go a long way toward re-establishing a domestic rail manufacturing base in the U.S.,” coalition members said in the letter.

Congress should base transportation spending decitions “on data that demonstrates how the nation can achieve other high-priority objectives such as less dependence on an oil-based economy, fewer carbon emissions, improved safety and congestion relief — all of which have high costs if confronted selectively,” the letter states.

Members of the OneRail Coalition include the American Public Transportation Association; American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association; Amtrak; Association of American Railroads; Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; National Association of Railroad Passengers; Natural Resources Defense Council; National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association; Railway Supply Institute; States for Passenger Rail Coalition; Surface Transportation Policy Partnership; Transportation Communications International Union/IAM; and United Transportation Union.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/7/2010