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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

House, Senate negotiators agree to protect state-supported Amtrak routes


U.S. House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a fiscal-year 2012 transportation spending bill that removes a House subcommittee’s language that would have prohibited the use of federal operating funds on state-supported Amtrak routes, Midwest High Speed Rail Association officials said in a prepared statement.

In addition, the negotiators’ bill would fund Amtrak at $1.42 billion in FY2012, but eliminate all funding for high-speed rail (HSR) programs. Earlier, the Senate proposed including $100 million for HSR in FY2012.

“We are extremely disappointed in the Appropriations Conference decision to eliminate new spending for high-speed rail,” said Madeline Grennan, the association’s manager of education and outreach. “It is apparent to all that the American transportation system is not working for its users, and this action has made matters worse.”

The group now will begin making its case for funding in FY2013, she said. The group’s goals include funding to continue “aggressive planning” for 220-mph rail infrastructure in the Midwest; continued funding for state rail infrastructure projects and Amtrak modernization; an Amtrak appropriation for rolling stock for long-distance service; and continued support for California’s HSR project.

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More News from 11/17/2011