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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Markey bill would fund intercity passenger-rail service

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the BRAIN TRAIN Act.
Photo – Edward Markey's office


U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) last week introduced legislation that would authorize a $5 billion annual investment over a five-year period to fund intercity passenger-rail service. 

The Building Rail Across Intercity Networks To Ride Around Interior of the Nation (BRAIN TRAIN) Act would allow the U.S. Department of Transportation to implement a competitive grant program that would fund up to $25 billion for high-performance rail projects over five years.

High-performance rail projects are those passenger-rail services that enhance capacity and reduce travel times; improve freight, commuter or intercity rail operations; provide environment benefits; and encourage multimodal connections.

“Despite clear economic, environmental and safety benefits, Congress has insufficiently invested in expanding passenger rail,” said Markey in a press release. “Developing and restoring passenger-rail service, especially in communities that have been under-connected, is exactly the kind of recovery program that can help repair the economic damage caused by the coronavirus while correcting long-standing inequities.”

Markey said the legislation could help build the east-west rail connection between Boston, Springfield and Pittsfield, Massachusetts; finish the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s South Coast Rail project; and explore other routes like Housatonic Railroad Co.’s proposed Berkshire passenger-rail line from New York City to Pittsfield through Danbury, Connecticut. 

The Western Massachusetts Rail Coalition, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Transportation for America have endorsed Markey's bill.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/1/2020