Today, Brightline launched passenger rail service between Miami and Orlando, the fastest passenger rail service in the U.S. outside of the Northeast. Brightline will offer 16 round trips a day on the 235-mile corridor, with the trip taking about 3 1/2 hours, and...
The federal budget process is underway, which will determine funding levels for passenger rail for Fiscal Year 2023. A group of 75 lawmakers are urging a key Congressional committee to allocate $3.5 billion for high-speed rail corridor development in the FY2023 budget. This push is being led by House members Seth Moulton, Suzan DelBene, and Jim Costa, and Senator Jon Ossoff.
While the federal infrastructure bill, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), authorized record funding for trains over the next five years, Congress still needs to appropriate much of this funding every year so the money can be put to use. Also, notably absent from the IIJA was a pot of dedicated funding for high-speed rail. We are encouraged that federal lawmakers are working to address this issue.
The letter requests that the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Committee include $3.5 billion for high-speed rail corridor development, with at least $350 million set aside for planning grants, in the FY23 THUD appropriations bill. The goal of this funding is to build a pipeline of high-speed rail projects and to direct funding to true high-speed rail systems. Investing in these advanced and proven transportation systems will support long-term economic growth, quality of life, and sustainability.
The lawmakers who led this effort shared why they support dedicated funding for high-speed rail:
“High-speed rail has the potential to transform this country. Just like the rest of the world, Americans should all be able to travel three-times faster than driving without being crammed into an airplane seat. Yet even with gas prices skyrocketing, we’re still spending huge amounts of money to put more cars on the road, making traffic worse,” said Congressman Moulton. “I hope that we will soon prioritize 21st Century transportation in the United States. China shouldn’t be beating us in modernizing how we move.”
“It’s past time that Americans can travel using the latest rail technology to connect cities, towns, and rural communities in regions like the Southeast with convenient, safe, fast, affordable, and environmentally friendly high-speed rail service,” said Senator Ossoff.
“Robust investments in high-speed rail will help strengthen our national transportation system, connect our communities, support our local economy, and help decrease carbon emissions,” said Congresswoman DelBene. “We have a tremendous opportunity to fund the build out of high-speed rail infrastructure in the U.S. through the Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations process and with it, increase economic opportunity across the country.”
“We have a significant opportunity to invest in next generation rail infrastructure,” said Congressman Costa. “Now is the time to bring our transportation infrastructure into the 21st century. Investing in modern, clean transportation systems like California’s high-speed rail will generate more good-paying jobs, improve sustainability, and support economic growth.”
You can add your voice to this effort by contacting your representatives right now. With so much passenger rail funding on the line, it’s important that advocates are engaged in the appropriation process every year.
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