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Passenger Rail Appropriations

June 02, 2016

Since our last federal funding update, appropriations for the Rail Title of the FAST Act has passed the Senate and is now moving through the House. We are pleased to inform you that both versions of the appropriations bills provide increased levels of funding for passenger rail.

The House Appropriations transportation subcommittee has approved passenger rail funding at $1.72 billion, $42 million more than FY 2016. House appropriators also provided $25 million for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program with none of the restrictions that were placed on the program in the Senate’s version. CRISI can be used for a wide range of projects such as station improvements, rail planning, capital construction and safety related investments. The appropriations bill will be moving to the full House.

The Senate’s version provides $50 million for CRISI, but that funding was restricted to safety related projects, such as PTC and grade crossings. Fortunately, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) offered an amendment that removed these restrictions for half of the program’s funding, which was accepted by the Senate.
Once both the Senate and House versions move to the Conference Committee we will push for a bill with no restrictions placed on CRISI and the full level of funding for passenger rail that was authorized by the FAST Act. We are in a much better place than years past and there is strong bipartisan support for passenger rail throughout Congress. We have come a long way thanks to all you advocates that have continuously urged their members of Congress to invest in passenger rail.


Dylan Hayward
Program Manager

Last Week at MHSRA:

Executive Director Rick Harnish attended an Infrastructure Week Event, Mobility 2050: A Vision for Transportation Infrastructure and How We Can Get There.

We had a great time at the 15th Annual Bike The Drive Event and enjoyed the opportunity to introduce folks to our vision for the Midwest.

Articles We Enjoyed:

Amtrak Accounting Structure
Amtrak and the FRA are restructuring Amtrak’s accounting to create separate accounts for the NEC and National Network. This 27-page document outlines the plan so far.

World’s Longest and Deepest Rail Tunnel, Through Swiss Alps, Opens
"The world’s longest and deepest rail tunnel opened in Switzerland on Wednesday, nearly seven decades after it was first proposed and 17 years after construction began with a blast in the main shaft.”

$4.6B Transit Plan Would Connect Detroit, 4 Counties
"The RTA will officially unveil its long-awaited master plan today...The plan is an aggressive response to the more than two dozen failed attempts to create a vibrant regional public transportation system in a long under-served area"

Happy Birthday, Intercity Express!
"The ICE is turning 25. On May 29, 1991, five high-speed trains zoomed from different corners of the German republic to converge on the city of Kassel, ushering in the era of the white trains dubbed the Intercity Express."

Keep Tri-Rail On Track All The Way To Downtown Miami
"A transportation link crucial to easing South Florida’s gridlock is in danger of being derailed if the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority — the powerful, but little-known entity that runs Tri-Rail — fails to approve important agreements and give the project its final green light."

Upcoming Events:

Japan High-Speed Rail Tour

Join us this September to discover how Japan’s high speed network relates to the future of high speed rail in the United States. We will ride the world’s first high speed line, Japans newest and fastest high speed trains and enjoy the sights in Tokyo and Kyoto.

Call the Society of International Railway Travelers at 800-478-4881 to reserve your spot before it's too late.

Please click here to learn more about the trip

Franklin Park Fest featuring Railroad Daze

Visit our booth, enjoy train viewing, and a celebration of Franklin Park's railroad heritage at this annual event, which features live music and a wide variety of food.

If you are available to volunteer at our booth please send an email to

When: June 11th, 10:00am - 3:00pm for Railroad Daze, the larger festival will continue until 10:30pm

Where: Franklin Avenue & Calwagner Street (9700 Franklin Ave.), Franklin Park, IL 60131

Cost: Entry is Free

Dylan Hayward
Program Manager
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625