US Congress Passes Funding for Rail Infrastructure Improvements

US Congress has passed a 1.5 trillion USD (1.36tn euros) government funding bill that will, among other things, provide increased resources to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

President Biden celebrates Amtrak's 50th anniversary

Funds allocated to the FRA will be used to help implement several key passenger rail programmes that came out of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), including the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail, which received 7.3 billion USD (6.63bn euros) to fund new and upgraded passenger services.

A recently announced project to benefit from the BIL is the expansion of the Twin Cities, La Cross, Milwaukee and Chicago rail corridor.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, was passed last November and is the largest investment in infrastructure in American history.

President Biden announced his plans for the investment back in April 2021, including how it would strengthen supply chains by making improvements to America’s rail, air and road infrastructure.

This was praised by Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn, who said it was an “important first step in developing an improved passenger rail system that would enhance mobility”.

The rail industry has fared well from this new wave of funding, having seen a 486% increase in funds compared to the previous year.

The majority of funding came from advance appropriations made by the BIL, however money also came from the 2022 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development title (legislation).

This included operating funds for both Amtrak and the FRA.

Jim Mathews, President of the Rail Passengers Association, said:

“America’s passengers thank Congress for its work on the transportation title.

“It would’ve been a mistake to stand pat with the advance appropriations provided by the BIL and we’re encouraged that appropriators provided funding through the annual budgeting process.

“The 35bn USD (31.81bn euros) in rail funding authorised by the bipartisan infrastructure law will play a crucial role in ensuring that all Americans enjoy the benefits of an upgraded and expanded passenger national rail network.”

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