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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Senate committee plans Amtrak hearing


U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.), chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, plans March 14 to hold a hearing on S. 1991, the National Defense Rail Act.

Hollings March 6 introduced to Congress the bill, which would authorize an annual federal investment of $4.6 billion from fiscal-year 2003 to FY 2007 to develop a "world-class, national passenger rail system."

The bill’s authorizations would include a one-time $1.3 billion authorization in FY2003 for security needs and assessments, and annual authorizations of $1.55 billion to develop high-speed rail corridors outside of the Northeast Corridor; $270 million for short-distance corridors; and $580 million to preserve longer-distance routes for communities not served by airlines. An additional $1.31 billion in annual funds would be included to repair and upgrade NEC tracks — including $895 million Amtrak has identified as necessary to carry out life-safety improvements in the New York, Baltimore and Washington tunnels.

Witnesses called to testify at the hearing include U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson, USDOT Inspector General Kenneth Mead, Amtrak President and Chief Executive Office George Warrington, New Orleans Mayor and President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Marc Morial, North Carolina DOT Deputy Secretary David King, Association of American Railroads President and CEO Edward Hamburger, and Amtrak Reform Council Chairman Gilbert Carmichael.

The hearing is scheduled to be held in Room 253 of the Russell Senate Office Building at 9:30 a.m. EST.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/13/2002