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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Senate Democrats call for federal investment in rail infrastructure

The Senate Democrats' infrastructure proposal includes a call for greater federal investment in Amtrak and other passenger-rail services.
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Senate Democrats yesterday unveiled a $1 trillion national infrastructure plan to cover a wide range of needs, including $180 billion to replace and expand rail and bus systems.

The Democrats' "Blueprint to Rebuild America's Infrastructure" is being presented as an alternative to President Donald Trump's infrastructure plan unveiled in January. The Democrats call for financing their infrastructure proposals by reversing much of the recently passed tax cuts.

The proposal would provide $50 billion to modernize the nation's rail infrastructure. The Democrats would increase federal funding for grant programs to support Amtrak, the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement program, the federal-state partnership program, and restoration and enhancement grants.

"This will improve and grow passenger-rail service, enhance the movement of freight by rail and accelerate the deployment of safety measures like positive train control," the Democrats' proposal states. "More convenient and safer rail service will also help reduce congestion on our roads and airports."

Moreover, the plan would invest $130 billion to repair and improve public transportation, including $90 billion to reverse the backlog in transit system repairs.

"To address overcrowding and ridership growth, we will invest $25 billion to advance subway, light rail, streetcar and bus rapid transit projects that are under development but lack funding," the proposal stated.

Additionally, the Democrats' plan called for a bipartisan solution that ensures long-term solvency of the federal Highway Trust Fund, including the Mass Transit Account.

Republican President Trump's infrastructure proposal did not address the trust fund's long-term solvency, although many Republican members of Congress have said the Highway Trust Fund's viability needs to be addressed.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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