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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

President's budget includes funding for HSR, proposal to merge Amtrak 'stand-alone subsidiaries' into competitive program


On Feb. 13, President Barack Obama unveiled a fiscal-year 2013 budget that includes $74 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). The spending plan is based on a $476 billion, six-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal.

The budget includes $47 billion over six years — including $2.7 billion in FY2013 — to develop high-speed passenger-rail corridors and improve intercity passenger-rail service.

The proposal also calls for “merging Amtrak’s stand-alone subsidiaries into the high-speed rail program as part of a larger, competitive system preservation initiative,” according to the USDOT’s budget summary.

Amtrak spokesperson Steve Kulm declined to comment on what the merger proposal would mean and how it would impact the intercity passenger railroad — and referred all questions to the USDOT. As of Feb. 15, the USDOT had not responded to HSRupdates’ phone calls or emails.  

In the meantime, Amtrak released the following statement:

“We appreciate the Obama administration’s strong support for Amtrak and its continuing commitment to make significant investments to improve and grow intercity and high-speed passenger rail across America. Amtrak plays an important role in the nation’s transportation network, offering people a safe, efficient, and reliable alternative in an economy marked by high gas prices and pervasive highway congestion. Congress has given Amtrak a critical national mission to provide intercity passenger rail service, and with an appropriate level of federal funding support, we can secure a stronger future for our country and reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/15/2012