Happening Now

National Passenger Day of Action THIS FRIDAY on Transportation Bill

November 11, 2015

Congressional leadership and staff are meeting in Washington, D.C. this week and next to reconcile the differences between Senate and House transportation bills. To ensure that this multi-year transportation bill gives states and Amtrak the tools they need to build a 21st Century rail transportation system, a broad coalition of passenger groups are organizing for a National Day of Action on Friday, November 13.

We’ll need your help to stand up for rail! Passenger groups have rallied around these clear, simple requests:

1. Include passenger rail as part of a comprehensive surface transportation bill.

The Senate included passenger rail as part of the DRIVE Act, the first time it has been included as part a truly comprehensive multi-year surface transportation bill. Now it’s time for the full Congress to ensure that passengers have a seat at the transportation table.

2. Allow for flexibility in investing the $77 billion in general revenue used to fund the surface transportation bill.

Since 2008, Congress has subsidized the Highway Trust Fund to the tune of $75 billion. Now, Congress is considering diverting another $77 billion to keep the fund afloat. There’s no reason these general funds must only be used for road projects. Congress should grant communities the flexibility to invest these funds to best address local transportation challenges—whether it’s a roadway, a railway, a bus line, or new equipment.

3. Include predictable, dedicated funding for passenger rail, and restore funding to FY2010 levels, when Congress invested $4 billion in trains.

The U.S. passenger rail system has been struggling to meet surging demand with stagnant resources. Congress must provide a trust fund so that the states and Amtrak can invest with confidence. While the Senate’s DRIVE Act is slightly better than the House’s STRR Act, neither one addresses the significant challenges states and Amtrak face in building a 21st Century rail system. For FY2016, we’re asking Congress to restore passenger rail funding to the $4 billion invested in FY 2010, and sustain that level across the life of the transportation bill.

Because only a select group of Members of Congress have been selected to be on the committee (full list below), passengers in their states and districts will play an outsized role in deciding the next five to six years of transportation investment (but with a bill this big, you can bet every Member will be trying to influence negotiations!).

In the meantime, passengers can easily send a letter to their officials in support of these key rail provisions to include in the transportation bill!

U.S. Senate


Jim Inhofe, Okla.

John Thune, S.D.

Orrin Hatch, Utah

Lisa Murkowski, Alaska,

Deb Fischer, Neb.

John Barrasso, Wyo.

John Cornyn, Texas.


Barbara Boxer, Calif.

Sherrod Brown, Ohio

Bill Nelson, Fla.

Ron Wyden, Ore.

Richard Durbin, Ill.

Charles Schumer, N.Y.

U.S. House of Representatives

(Italics = likely)

Transportation & Infrastructure Committee

Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA)
Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-TN)
Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO)
Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR)
Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA)
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX)
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA)
Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI)
Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA)
Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA)
Rep. John Katko (R-NY)
Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH)
Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX)
Rep. Cresent Hardy (R-NV)
Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA)

Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL)
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA)
Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA)
Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL)
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN)
Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ)

Ways & Means Committee

Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX)
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA)

Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI)
Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA)

Financial Services Committee

Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)

Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO)

Energy & Commerce Committee

Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI)
Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-TX)

Ranking Member Marsha Blackburn (D-TN)
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)