Intercity Passenger Rail Trust Fund Act
On Tuesday March 23rd, the Intercity Passenger Rail Trust Fund Act was introduced by US Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and US Representative Danny Davis (D-IL). If passed, the bill would provide permanent funding for Amtrak by creating a dedicated funding stream of approximately $5.4 billion annually that could be used for capital and operating costs.
This would help Amtrak invest in major improvement projects, increase passenger rail’s efficiency and help provide safer, more reliable service.
The funding would be split between between the Northeast Corridor at 40% and 60% for the National Network, which includes Amtrak’s state-supported and long-distance services. These funds would be placed in a new federal Intercity Passenger Rail Trust Fund that would provide grants for repairs, trip time optimizing investments, improving service, modernizing the fleet and other needs.
Dedicated funding for Amtrak is critical to advancing passenger rail in the U.S. Right now Amtrak relies on an unpredictable annual appropriations process that makes it difficult to plan for and invest in long term improvements.
This bill comes at a time when Congress is turning its focus to infrastructure and momentum is building for a large investment in passenger rail. Other legislation that proposes funding for improving America’s passenger rail network includes the American High Speed Rail Act and the High-Speed Rail Corridor Development Act.
The Alliance has long advocated for dedicated funding for Amtrak and believe their long-distance night trains can be the foundation for improving and expanding America’s national network. If this bill passes we encourage Amtrak to use the funds to invest in better tracks, more daily departures and state-of-the-art trains.