Passengers Applaud House Passage of Visionary INVEST Act
July 1, 2021
The U.S House has passed a surface transportation bill that includes a revolutionary passenger rail title, continuing both the policies and the funding to transform America’s passenger rail network.
For Immediate Release (21-11)
Contact: Sean Jeans-Gail (202) 320-2723; [email protected]
Passengers Applaud House Passage of Visionary INVEST in America Act
Washington, D.C. -- The U.S House has passed a surface transportation bill that includes a revolutionary passenger rail title, which contains policy reforms and funding levels capable of transforming America’s passenger rail network.
“We thank the House members who voted to approve this historic piece of legislation -- especially the leadership shown by Chairman DeFazio, who worked with passengers and communities all across the U.S. to develop legislation that meets their economic and mobility needs,” said Jim Mathews, Rail Passengers President & CEO. “The INVEST in America Act will benefit Americans everywhere, in towns big and small. This legislation has the ambition to expand rail service in the nation’s most congested urban corridors while simultaneously ensuring that rural and small towns have access to reliable, quality trains, even creating transit set asides for tribal lands and rural communities.”
The INVEST in America (H.R. 3684) passed today by a 221 - 201 vote. The bill provides $100 billion for passenger and freight rail. This includes $32 billion for Amtrak, $30 billion for a next-generation passenger rail grant program to upgrade and grow service, and $25 billion dedicated towards bridges, stations and tunnels.
It also includes several key policy proposals Rail Passengers has fought for, including protections for on-time service for passengers, a streamlined process for adding new service and frequencies over host railroad infrastructure, improvements to onboard services for passengers, and reforms to Amtrak’s Board of Directors.
The House passed an amendment increasing the PRIME grant program from $25 billion over five years to $30 billion over five years, thanks to an amendment by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), who has been a leader on the campaign to modernize passenger rail and bring high-speed rail to the U.S. He was joined by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Jim Costa (D-CA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Marilyn Strickland (D-WA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Joseph Morelle (D-NY), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), and Dina Titus (D-NV), who cosponsored the amendment. It was passed as part of a block of amendments supported by Chairman DeFazio. =
“America’s passengers owe a special thanks to Rep. Moulton for his leadership in securing additional funding for this innovative new program dedicated to passenger rail,” said Sean Jeans-Gail, Rail Passengers’ Vice President of Government Affairs. “PRIME will be key to modernizing and expanding our rail system by prioritizing projects that provide economic and environmental benefits to the communities they serve.”
The Senate will now need to take up its version of the bill, with floor action expected in late July.
About Rail Passengers Association
The Rail Passengers Association is the oldest and largest national organization serving as a voice for the more than 40 million rail passengers in the U.S. Our mission is to improve and expand conventional intercity and regional passenger train services, support higher speed rail initiatives, increase connectivity among all forms of transportation and ensure safety for our country's trains and passengers. All of this makes communities safer, more accessible, and more productive, improving the lives of everyone who lives, works and plays in towns all across America.
"I wish to extend my appreciation to members of the Rail Passengers Association for their steadfast advocacy to protect not only the Southwest Chief, but all rail transportation which plays such an important role in our economy and local communities. I look forward to continuing this close partnership, both with America’s rail passengers and our bipartisan group of senators, to ensure a bright future for the Southwest Chief route."
Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS)
April 2, 2019, on receiving the Association's Golden Spike Award for his work to protect the Southwest Chief