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Senators call on Appropriations to fight for passenger-rail funding


Fourteen senators are urging Senate Appropriations Committee leadership to support funding for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail (IPR) grant program in fiscal-year 2024 spending legislation.

While the committee-passed U.S. Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill included $100 million for this account, House Republicans have proposed eliminating it, which would hinder ongoing work to improve rail infrastructure in the Northeast and across the country, according to a news release  issued by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-N.Y.), one of the senators supporting the funding.

"While the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) provided five years of guaranteed funding for the Federal-State Partnership grant program, this funding was always intended to be supplemental to annually appropriated dollars. The IIJA also authorized up to $1.5 billion for IPR grants in fiscal year 2024. The IIJA investment alone is not sufficient to fully address the nation’s rail state-of-good-repair (SOGR) backlog nor to fully improve and expand intercity passenger rail in a way that America deserves," the senators wrote in a letter to Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine).

In the letter, the senators highlighted the importance of funding projects in the Northeast Corridor.

“The NEC's SOGR backlog stands at well over $40 billion, representing a serious threat to the nation’s economy," they wrote.

U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Angus King (I-Maine), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) also signed the letter.

The full text of the letter is available here.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/18/2024