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10/24/2005



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Senate approves $1.45 billion for Amtrak in FY2006



Last week, the Senate approved the Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, the District of Columbia, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006 (H.R. 3058), which includes $1.45 billion for Amtrak in fiscal-year 2006.

The Bush Administration previously announced its opposition to the bill and said the president would veto legislation that provided such a high level of funding for the national passenger railroad without implementing reform initiatives.

However, this week the Senate is expected to discuss Amtrak reform. Members will consider the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2005 (S. 1516), introduced in July by Sens. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).

Recently passed by the Senate Commerce Committee, the six-year reauthorization bill would provide $11.4 billion for Amtrak through fiscal-year 2011 to maintain current operations, upgrade equipment and return the Northeast Corridor (NEC) to a state of good repair. It also includes funds to create a new grant program for states that want to add or improve intercity passenger-rail service.



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