Senate Budget Supports Amtrak, High-Speed Rail

The Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved a $54 billion fiscal 2014 Transportation-HUD spending bill, setting up a fight with the House over the budget. The difference between the measures’ spending levels is about $10 billion.

Differences include money for infrastructure projects, known as TIGER grants. The Senate would increase funding for the grants by $50 million, proposing to provide $550 million, while the House proposal would zero-out appropriations and rescind $237 million.

The Senate measure proposes significantly more funding than the House measure does for Amtrak and passenger rail services.
The bill would provide:

  •     $550 million for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grants.
  •     $1.5 billion for Amtrak.
  •     $100 million for Capital Assistance for National High Performance Passenger Rail Service.
  •     Limit overtime to $35,000 per Amtrak employee, with waivers allowed.

“TCU is pleased to see a budget that supports the hard working men and women we represent,” said TCU President Bob Scardelletti. “TCU will continue to work hard to make sure the budget proposals will not be put through at the expense of our members.”

Amtrak president and CEO Joe Boardman stated that this funding is a more workable solution that the House proposal but, “Even at this funding level there is a significant amount of critical backlog infrastructure work that will not get done. In order for the nation’s intercity passenger rail system to reach its full potential, Amtrak will need higher and sustained levels of federal capital funding.”

Click here to read the full release from Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman.

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