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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Senate Appropriations OKs transportation funding bill

The proposal slots $358.4 million for Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and $1.24 billion for the railroad's nationwide network.
Photo – Amtrak

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee late last week unanimously approved the $60 billion fiscal-year 2018 funding bill for transportation, housing and urban development, and related agencies.

The proposal would continue providing federal funding for Amtrak's long-distance routes, as well as for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. In particular, the bill slots $1.6 for the national intercity passenger railroad, with $358.4 million dedicated for the Northeast Corridor and the remaining $1.24 billion for Amtrak's nationwide network.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development approved the bill July 25.

The proposal also provides $2.13 billion for the Federal Transit Administration's Capital Investment Grants program, which is $380 million more than proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives' version of the same bill.

The Senate bill makes available an additional $14.4 million in previously unobligated funds for the CIG program.

Furthermore, the bill includes directive language to ensure the continuation of that program and explicitly provides funding for qualified projects expecting to sign Full Funding Grant Agreements in FY2018, according to the American Public Transportation Association's summary of the proposal.

"Our economy and the well-being of the American people benefit from responsible investments in American infrastructure and community development. This bill continues federal funding to support these objectives," said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) in a committee press release.

Both versions of the funding bill now must be considered by the full House and Senate, respectively. After that, both chambers will need to reconcile any differences in a final FY 2018 spending bill.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/31/2017