2021 Day on the Hill - Resources
Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations
Key transportation committees are again asking Members of Congress to submit local priorities. We're compilling a list of shovel-worthy passenger projects to help you reach out to your elected officials and recruit their help in advancing important projects in YOUR backyard.
Surface Transportation Reauthorization
Capitol Hill is gearing up for another round of transportation negotiations, and Rail Passengers is advocating for a number of policies to be considered for the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization, which will shape passenger rail investment, including:
On-Time Performance and Fairness for Passengers: Given the dramatic rise in host railroad interference and passenger delays, Rail Passengers is asking Congress to grant preference enforcement. This would give Amtrak the ability to bring an action in U.S. District Court when its statutory right of preference is violated, protecting American passengers’ right to be on time by ensuring they aren’t stranded illegally for hours behind slow-moving freight trains.
Passenger Rail Trust Fund: Rail Passengers is again calling for an Intercity Passenger Rail Trust Fund (IPRTF) to provide predictable, dedicated funding for passenger rail. With advance appropriations for passenger rail grants, Amtrak and states can better plan capital expenditures and manage infrastructure projects.
Equipment Modernization: establishing a stable funding mechanism to allow for critical investments in Amtrak equipment that will meet public demand for reliable, energy-efficient equipment with modern amenities.
Building on Success of the Moving Forward Act: Rail Passengers worked closely with members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on the rail title of the Moving Forward Act, and we look forward to the reintroduction of those policies in the 117th Congress. H.R. 2 included key provisions and Amtrak reforms that should be carried over in the current reauthorization cycle, and we encourage all our advocates to familiarize themselves with the key provisions. [Review the key sections of H.R. 2 and associated bill language.]
Passenger rail fact sheets, updated through 2020, produced by the Association’s professional staff.
Economic Benefits: A Connected America is not only good for passengers but good for America’s cities and towns, an economic engine in the communities it serves. The U.S. transportation status quo is broken—the nationwide cost of highway gridlock has grown to $179 billion a year, or $1,080 per commuter. And the cost isn’t just in dollars; the average commuter spends 54 hours per year stuck in traffic.
Environmental Benefits: Modern passenger rail can carry large numbers of people longer and faster, more efficiently than ever before. Whether using fuel-efficient diesel engines or electrified train corridors, passenger rail does more to mitigate air pollution than automobiles or aircraft. Properly funded and developed, energy-efficient rail networks can help cut fuel use by the transportation sector, and lower carbon emissions.
High-Speed Rail: High-Speed Rail is an efficient mode of transportation that can move a large number of people quickly along densely developed corridors. In the U.S., high-speed rail technology would allow us to be more competitive in the global marketplace, while strengthening local economies. However, decades of underinvestment in rail has left the U.S. lagging.
National Network & Rural Mobility: Amtrak’s National Network forms the foundation of passenger rail service in the U.S., connecting congested urban areas and bringing economically viable mobility to rural areas and small towns. It is important to note that many of these areas are becoming more isolated from major cities as regional airline and intercity bus service disappears.
Northeast Corridor & Gateway: The current NEC infrastructure is at a turning point, requiring new funding for a variety of rail projects, including two new Hudson River Tunnel tubes and rehabilitation of the existing 110-year old tunnel. Should the massive rail infrastructure effort not move forward, the entirety of NEC travel could come to a grinding halt
On-Time Performance: Poor service from many host railroads has caused chronic and excessive delays for millions of riders who rely on the Amtrak system. In 2018, Amtrak trains were delayed by freight trains on host railroads more than 100,000 times. Interference by freight trains is the most common source of delay for Amtrak passengers and the largest cause of poor on-time performance of Amtrak trains.
"Thank you to Jim Mathews and the Rail Passengers Association for presenting me with this prestigious award. I am always looking at ways to work with the railroads and rail advocates to improve the passenger experience."
Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3)
February 14, 2020, on receiving the Association's Golden Spike Award