Happening Now

Passenger rail included in first ever COMPREHENSIVE surface transportation bill!

December 1, 2015

House and Senate conferees released the final transportation bill this afternoon, the product of weeks of negotiations. In a historic win for passenger train advocates, passenger rail was included as part of a comprehensive transportation bill for the first time ever—something NARP members have been working towards for years!

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act is a five-year bill that would invest $305 billion in U.S. infrastructure. While the vast majority of it will go towards highways, $10.355 billion has been authorized for intercity passenger trains, along with $12.209 billion in dedicated funding for transit.

“The FAST Act is an important step in the right direction for this country. We’ve gone from the House voting on whether to completely eliminate funding to Amtrak in the spring, to the full Congress thinking seriously and thoughtfully about how to improve and expand the passenger rail network in a single calendar year; that is a big achievement for America’s 31 million passengers,” said NARP President Jim Mathews. “However, there’s more work for advocates to do. We must make sure that Congress follows through on fully funding these programs; that states and local communities know they can use these new programs to secure more frequent, improved service; and that, eventually, we secure the dedicated, predictable funding that is essential to building a modern rail system and a connected America.”

[Full bill language here, joint explanatory statement here]

NARP’s staff is reviewing the 1,300-plus page text of the bill to provide a section-by-section breakdown of the rail title, so stay tuned!

Intercity Passenger Rail Funding (in millions)

Fiscal Year







Sec. Total

Amtrak - Northeast Corridor (Sec. 11101)







Amtrak - National Network (Sec. 11101)







Consolidated Rail Infrastructure & Safety Improvements (Sec. 11102)







Federal State Partnership for State of Good Repair (Sec. 11103)







Restoration & Enhancement Grants (Sec. 11104)







Amtrak OIG (Sec. 11105)







Yearly Total







5 year total

Rail Program Breakdown

  • AMTRAK - NORTHEAST CORRIDOR — $2.596 billion over five years
  • AMTRAK - NATIONAL NETWORK — $5.454 billion over five years
  • GULF COAST WORKING GROUP — Of the total amount made available to the Office of the Secretary of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration, for each of fiscal years 2016 and 2017, $500,000 shall be used to convene the Gulf Coast rail service working.
  • FEDERAL-STATE PARTNERSHIP FOR STATE OF GOOD REPAIR — $997 million over five years.
  • RESTORATION AND ENHANCEMENT GRANTS — $100 million over five years.
  • AMTRAK OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL — $105 million over five years.
  • AUTHORIZATION OF GRANTS FOR POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL — There shall be available from the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund to carry out this section $199,000,000 for fiscal year 2017 to assist in financing the installation of positive train control systems.