Debt Limit Clears Congress, Transportation Budget Up Next
June 2, 2023
After months of negotiation, Congress was able to pass a bipartisan compromise to raise the debt ceiling and implement budget caps this week, averting a disastrous government default and shutdown.
However, the budget freeze included in the compromise raises questions about how Amtrak and passenger trains will fare in the ongoing Fiscal Year 2024 budget process. Facing hard caps, Congressional appropriators are going to have to make some difficult choices. And while there are guaranteed rail funds included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), we need to ensure that Congress funds day to day operations to keep the trains running and facilitate project management.
The House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure is holding a hearing on Amtrak on Tuesday, June 6th, and we’re asking America's passengers to speak up in support of projects that will upgrade the passenger rail network, including:
- New Amtrak equipment for routes across the U.S.—an investment which has already led to new manufacturing jobs for American workers;
- Upgrades to stations across the National Network and NEC [see the Federal Railroad Administration’s NEC Project Inventory List for more details on projects that are ready-to-build]; and
- New and upgraded passenger rail corridors from coast to coast.
Join the Rail Passengers Association in asking Congress to fully fund rail programs at the authorized levels established by the BIL!
"The National Association of Railroad Passengers has done yeoman work over the years and in fact if it weren’t for NARP, I'd be surprised if Amtrak were still in possession of as a large a network as they have. So they've done good work, they're very good on the factual case."
Robert Gallamore, Director of Transportation Center at Northwestern University and former Federal Railroad Administration official, Director of Transportation Center at Northwestern University
November 17, 2005, on The Leonard Lopate Show (with guest host Chris Bannon), WNYC New York.