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Passenger Rail Legislation Update

September 14, 2016

The deadline to pass a federal budget is only two weeks away and Congress does not appear close to passing their regular annual appropriations bills. In order to avoid a shutdown Congress is preparing to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) or short-term budget extension.

The White House released a list of priorities for the CR, which includes $1.39 billion in funding for Amtrak in FY2017. This would provide $370,000 for the NEC and $1.02 billion for the National Network. With the CR expected to extend the budget only until mid-December, this would create the stability needed for Amtrak to change over to their new accounting structure.

The short-term budget extension would not cover the new passenger rail grant programs created in the DRIVE Act. Strong investments in these programs are needed to strengthen our national network.

This includes the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program, which covers a broad range of projects. Funding for this program could be used for PTC, station improvements, capital construction, rail planning and more.

The Restoration and Enhancement Grants program would provide operational assistance for up to six new, reestablished or expanded passenger rail services.

Both of these programs could provide critical funding for projects in the Midwest and we will need your help ensuring that Congress appropriates funding for them.


Dylan Hayward
Program Manager

Last Week at MHSRA:

We participated in a strategic meeting with other passenger rail advocates about how to effectively send our message to Congress about federal funding for passenger rail.

There has been a lot of work to do in preparing for our 2016 MHSRA Fall Luncheon this Friday, September 16, with keynote speaker Marco Stegher. We are very excited to provide people the opportunity to learn how high speed rail was established in Italy from an expert in the field. You can still register here.

Articles We Enjoyed:

Wick’s Open Letter to Amtrak Employees
"As our country’s transportation needs continue to change and grow, there is more and more public interest in passenger rail service everywhere. Together, we can continue to transform Amtrak. We can expand and grow our company in ways that will help us meet these new demands, and make Amtrak the leading rail passenger carrier worldwide."

Chicago Union Station Transit Center
“A new facility across the street from the Amtrak and Metra hub that will make it easier to make transfers and will better organize West Loop traffic.”

Sunday Train: Rapid Passenger Rail Moving Ahead
"Much of the actual services that we will see starting up in the final years of this decade will be work on or preparation for the "Rapid Passenger Rail" services that upgrade top speed from the sluggish conventional US corridor speed of 79mph to 110mph or more."

Alstom and SNCF Develop Next-Generation TGV
"Due to enter service in 2022, France’s future high speed trainset will offer ‘a real breakthrough in terms of competitiveness’, according to the project partners, reducing costs while offering passengers ‘a new experience’ in comfort and onboard services"

Amtrak to Continue Saturday Night Trips on Hiawatha Line
"Amtrak said Tuesday it is continuing its late night service between Milwaukee and Chicago on Saturdays. The Hiawatha service added a late night train in September 2015 for the fall holiday season and expanded service for summer 2016."

Upcoming Events:

2016 MHSRA Annual Fall Luncheon

Keynote Speaker: Marco Stegher, Americas Area Manager, Italferr S.p.A.

When:      Friday, September 16, Noon-1:30 PM (Check-in begins at 11:30 AM)

Where:     Maggiano's Little Italy, 516 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

Cost:        Regular Ticket: $55     Student Ticket: $20

Register Here

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