Friday, May 14, 2010

State coalition asks Congress for passenger rail funds

Written by 

The States for Passenger Rail Coalition has sent Congress a request for 2011 funding that includes a $2.5 billion appropriation for grants under the High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program, the same level sought for 2010, plus $1 billion for “next generation” intercity passenger rail equipment development.

“The states are ready to step up to the plate in partnership with the federal government to create a better intercity passenger rail program than ever before,” said the coalition, an alliance of state departments of transportation that was established in 2000.

Noting that the states’ focus is on “safety, economic development, energy security, and conservation and environmental quality,” coalition members also asked the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development for $100 million for the positive train control program; $55 million for the Swift High-Speed Rail Grade Crossing Elimination Program; and $45 million for the Rail Line Relocation program.

The coalition said it supports Amtrak’s separate request for$2.2 billion to address “a broad array of daunting challenges [including] meeting ADA requirements, operating over an ever-aging infrastructure, and assisting the states in development of a national intercity passenger rail system.”