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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Federal rail funding bill scheduled to ARRIVE in the Senate


A bill seeking to reduce highway congestion, secure long-term Amtrak funding, and improve transportation security and the environment is poised to enter the Senate later this month. Entitled "The American Railroad Revitalization, Investment and Enhancement Act of the 21st Century (ARRIVE-21)," the legislation would be a "starting point in 2004 for a new effort at winning bi-partisan support for rail-related federal funding that has been stalled this year by partisan bickering," according to a statement issued by United Transportation Union, which is helping craft the bill.

Intended to be part of new multi-year highway funding legislation, ARRIVE-21 will be introduced by Sens. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) and Thomas Carper (D-Del.).

The bill would provide states and Amtrak $30 billion over 20 years for high-speed rail projects, and freight railroads funds to rehabilitate and upgrade lines, expand intermodal capacity and improve security. ARRIVE-21 also would set aside funds to enable states to improve highways that connect with rail intermodal yards and ports, and authorize a minimum of $1.5 billion for Amtrak's operating and capital expenses over the next six years.

"Another key provision of this bill is to define a national intercity rail passenger network based upon existing service," said UTU National Legislative Director James Brunkenhoefer. "Also, the Department of Transportation would be instructed to develop a national rail plan and a 50-year intermodal blueprint as part of an effort to preserve and expand environmentally friendly rail transportation."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/3/2003