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Rail News: Amtrak

Legislation would require Amtrak to spend NEC profits on the corridor


The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies appropriations bill passed by the Senate last week includes a measure that would require Amtrak to spend profits from its Acela and Northeast Regional service on critical capital and safety improvement projects in the Northeast Corridor (NEC).

The bill calls for $1.42 billion for Amtrak, a $30 million increase from last year's spending bill. That amount would include $345 million for a new NEC account and $1.075 billion for Amtrak's national network, according to a press release issued by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy's (D-Conn.) office.

Murphy is a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, HUD, and Related Agencies.

The Northeast Corridor provision would be the first time Amtrak would be required to spend profit from that corridor into overdue repair and maintenance work in the corridor, Murphy told the Hartford Courant.

Currently, Amtrak uses some of its Northeast Corridor profits on other parts of its national rail network.

In addition, the bill passed last week calls for $525 million in funding for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, a $25 million increase from last year; $199 million in positive train control implementation funding; $50 million for consolidated rail infrastructure and safety improvement grants; and $20 million for federal-state partnership for state of good repair grants to help Northeast Corridor states tackle the state of good repair backlog from Boston to Washington, D.C.

"People in Connecticut are fed up with their commutes," said Murphy in the press release. "I'm proud to have helped craft this bill because of the critical investments it makes in Connecticut roads and safety."