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Weekly Newsletter: Amtrak Bill Introduced in Senate

June 23, 2015

The future of passenger rail is looking brighter.

Just last week, Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the bipartisan Railroad Reform, Enhancement, and Efficiency Act (RREEA). Unlike the PRRIA bill passed by the House earlier this month, it is forward thinking and would reauthorize Amtrak and other future railroad
programs. The bill proposes a number of reforms and higher spending levels.

The reforms – ensuring balance regional representation, expanding thenational network, rail safety, improving the passenger experience and much more – are a huge step forward for passenger rail. It's the beginning of addressing issues surrounding running faster, more frequent and more dependable trains on freight railroads.

The bill would also authorize $1.8 billion in Amtrak passenger rail grants in FY2016, increasing these levels steadily up to $2.8 billion in
FY2019. These funding levels, while higher than those proposed by the House, are far below what is required to meet the needs of our nation’s crumbling railroad infrastructure. It is encouraging to see Congress is finally seeing that despite the lack of investment in the past this is a service that is growing. This week the bill is scheduled to be marked-up in the Senate Commerce Committee. To continue down this path we must continue to educate each other and our local and state elected officials on the importance of train travel.

Best,

Shira Orlowek
Operations Manager
Shira@JustBuildIt.org

Last Week at MHSRA:
MHSRA created an educational document on improving Amtrak's financial viability. Check out the new flyer here.

Articles We Enjoyed:

New aviation chief calls high-speed rail to O'Hare 'essential' infrastructure
The new aviation chief was brought in because of her experience with delivering big-ticket projects.

High-speed rail tech from China makes way to Russia
"The railway is scheduled to be completed by 2018. With a maximum design speed of 400 km/h, it will carry millions of passengers every year and reduce travel time from 14 hours to three and a half."

Heavy equipment finally moving on California high-speed rail construction
As of last Tuesday, construction is finally underway!

Senators introduce $9B Amtrak bill after deadly crash
"Harnish said the Senate rail bill would allow Amtrak to make improvement to all of its services, not just in the popular Northeast Corridor."

Why America is betting big on bullet trains
"Compared with China, Europe, and Japan, the U.S. lags badly when it comes to high-speed rail. Can new projects proposed in California, Florida, and Texas get the nation back on track?"

Upcoming Events:

P3 Infrastructure Summit 2015 In New York City - October 14-15, 2015

Shira Orlowek
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
773-334-6758
Join today at MidwestHSR.org/Join-Us

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