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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak makes $3.3B grant request for FY2023

Amtrak President and CEO Stephen Gardner
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Amtrak is seeking $3.3 billion in total grant funding for fiscal-year 2023, as part of the national intercity passenger railroad’s annual appropriation request from Congress.

With the recent enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Amtrak is entering a new era with a historic level of federal investment for capital projects and “a clear plan to transform and grow our business,” Amtrak President and CEO Stephen Gardner said April 8 in a statement after submitting to Congress the railroad’s general and legislative annual report.

In addition to directly providing guaranteed one-time funding to Amtrak under the IIJA, Congress also used the new law to authorize additional annual funding for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and National Network grants for FY2022-2026, Gardner noted.

"Our requested FY2023 annual grant will allow Amtrak to continue operating our long-distance trains, which connect communities across the nation; to continue partnering with states to provide short-distance corridor service; and to continue normalized replacement (necessary maintenance and sustainment) of aged assets on the Northeast Corridor, all while facing new levels of uncertainty and disruption from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," Gardner said.

Of the total grant request, $1.1 billion would be allocated to the Northeast Corridor and $2.2 billion to the National Network in FY2023.

Amtrak is projecting that its FY2023 ridership will be 28.8 million customer trips, compared with actual ridership of 32.5 million in FY2019, 16.8 million in FY2020 and 12.2 million in FY2021. The railroad’s planned ridership in FY2022 is 23.2 million.

Also in FY2023, Amtrak is projecting $1.98 billion in gross ticket revenue; $3.1 billion in total operating revenue; and an adjusted loss of $1 billion.

According to its request to Congress, Amtrak’s FY2021 highlights included the following:
• Total capital expenditures amounted to $2.2 billion, including investments such as the Hudson Tunnel project property acquisition and advancing the procurement of new intercity train sets;
• Ridership grew to 12.2 million customer trips, 42% above what was projected in the FY2021 plan but still far below ridership levels before the COVID-19 pandemic;
• Gross ticket revenue of $883 million in FY2021 was ahead of plan but lagged behind FY2020 results, a year that was partly affected by the pandemic; and
• The adjusted operating loss of $1 billion was a more-than-$400 million improvement from what was projected in the FY2021 plan.