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Passenger-rail coalition seeks federal funding


States officials say they will continue to invest money in passenger-rail systems, but this week, those officials asked Congress to do the same.

The States for Passenger Rail Coalition, an organization including transportation officials from 24 states, met with congressional and rail industry representatives to discuss ways to establish a dedicated federal funding source.

"States have been investing in their rail systems and are willing to continue to do their part, but they cannot be expected to bear this burden alone," said David King, coalition chairman and deputy secretary for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, in a prepared statement. "We need a strong federal partner to work with the states to support short-term stability, and a long-term policy and funding solutions for intercity passenger rail."

Recent reports from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) show that relatively small investments in rail systems can leverage large public benefits to the nation’s highway infrastructure, highway users and freight shippers. About $60 billion is needed for intercity passenger rail and capital improvements during the next 20 year, according to AASHTO.

The coalition was formed to improve and expand passenger rail services, and develop high-speed passenger train routes.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/28/2003