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9/20/2000



Rail News: Passenger Rail

U.S. Senate to discuss Lautenberg high-speed rail bond bill


The U.S. Senate Finance Committee plans to meet Thursday, Sept. 21, to mark up the Community Renewal and New Markets Act of 2000. Among other tax credits and initiatives to spur community growth, the bill includes the High-Speed Rail Investment act, authored by Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat.

The proposal would authorize Amtrak to issue $10 billion in tax-credit bonds for high-speed corridor development and equipment purchases. Amtrak would sell the bonds between fiscal-years 2001 and 2010.

The bill would require states to match at least 20 percent of the bonds’ purchase price with grants and partnership agreements. These state and local funds would be managed by an independent trustee and used to redeem the bonds. Funds raised through grants or partnerships that exceed 20 percent of the bond purchase price would be applied directly to the projects -- not toward bond redemption.Bond holders would receive tax credits in lieu of interest payments.

The High-Speed Rail Investment Act has 54 sponsors in the Senate and 155 in the House.


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