News & Reviews News Wire Digest: Legislation would create permanent funding for Amtrak

Digest: Legislation would create permanent funding for Amtrak

By | March 26, 2021

News Wire Digest second section for March 26: More than 30 killed as trains collide in Egypt; Vancouver transit agency approves fare increase

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Senator, Congressman introduce bills to create dedicated funding source for Amtrak

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumental (D-Conn.) and U.S. Rep Danny Davis (D-Ill.) have introduced legislation to provide permanent, dedicated funding for Amtrak. The Intercity Passenger Rail Trust Fund Act would create a fund providing approximately $5.4 billion annually for repairs, service improvements, fleet modernization and other needs. The bill specifies 40% of the funds would go to the Northeast Corridor and 60% to the national network, and could be used for both capital and operating expenses. “This bill envisions the long-term, steady funding commitment to our nation’s intercity passenger rail system necessary to ensure it is safe and reliable for passengers today and long into the future,” Blumenthal said in a press release, which also notes intercity passenger rail is the only major form of transportation without a dedicated funding stream. Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn called the legislation “a game changer for America and for Amtrak,” saying it would “would help us increase efficiency and improve planning, helping us advance major bridge and tunnel projects and provide energy efficient transportation to more customers, including underserved communities across the nation.” The full text of the Senate version of the bill is available here, with a summary here. Corresponding legislation was introduced in the House.

At least 32 killed as trains collide in Egypt

At least 32 people have been killed and 90 injured in a collision of two passenger trains today in Egypt. The New York Times reports the Egyptian Naitonal Railways Authority said “unknown actors” had engaged the brakes on one train and another train crashed into it from behind, causing two passenger cars to overturn. The accident occurred near the city of Sohag, about 240 miles south of Cairo on the Nile River.

TransLink board approves fare increase

Vancouver, British Columbia, agency TransLink will increase fares an average of 2.3% as of July 1, following approval of the fare hike by the TransLink board of directors on Thursday. The CBC reports the agency had original planned a 4.6% increase in 2020 and 4.1% increase in 2021. It cancelled last year’s request because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and reduced this year’s as a condition of emergency funding from the federal and provincial governments received last year.

15 thoughts on “Digest: Legislation would create permanent funding for Amtrak

  1. Sounds great, maybe then people in Jacksonville, FL won’t have to take three LD trains to travel to Los Angeles.

  2. So if the rest of us pay for the capital costs, can’t we get a requirement, that the states directly benefiting from this, will completely fund all operating costs, from now on? Hmmmm….Cheers

  3. Permanent trust fund for Amtrak, awesome! One important detail, where is the money coming from?

    Highway fuel taxes, No.
    Rail Freight surcharges. No
    Rail Diesel taxes. No
    Amtrak ticket surcharges? Not enough tickets sold.

    Someone has to pay and the money has to come from someone.

    If the trust fund is paid for by every state, then every state should get service.

    Will this trust fund operate like the highway fund? What they pay in is what they get in return?

    Just announcing a bill with no source of funding is like saying I want to buy a house with no mortgage.

    1. Permanent funding for Amtrak isn’t the problem, it’s the current funds wasted, mismanagement by current upper level managers and some employees, waste like the Miami station paying for snow removal storage (If it’s still happening)

  4. I would not mind this idea IF the money goes to strictly capital projects and all passengers on the NEC have a one dollar maintenance surcharge, be they commuter or Amtrak riders, attached to every ticket sold, with the stipulation that it goes to right of way infrastructure maintenance only.

  5. For that amount of $$$$ I’d expect some pretty significant improvement. And/or stop picking the pockets of the several states to fund corridor trains.

  6. The sum total of the NEC state populations (Massachusetts to the District of Columbia, not the most accurate measurement of utility but you have have to start somewhere) is just over 60 million or about 18 percent of total US population. Yet this proposal diverts 40% of funding to the Nothing Else Counts.

    1. DANIEL – In addition to what you posted, I don’t believe the Northeastern states pay what my state (Wisconsin) pays for its corridor.

  7. Great! Amtrak has never been properly funded from day 1. Any business or entity needs to know the funding amount available to be able to make multi-year long term plans, instead of begging each year.

  8. Can’t we all agree that a dedicated source of funding instead of annual hoping and begging is a good idea that’s taken way too long to be considered, (ever since it turned out that Amtrak didn’t fold up and go away in the 1970’s?) The details of what percentage and how much goes to what, for what purpose, is a long way down the legislative road.

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