Bipartisan Bill Targets $1bn for Amtrak, $15 bn for Transit
December 2, 2020
New Bipartisan Relief Bill Targets $1 billion for Amtrak, $15 billion for Transit
A new bipartisan coalition in the U.S. Senate has formed to propose a $908 billion COVID-19 relief bill. The legislation would provide $1 billion for Amtrak and $15 billion for transit. While below the $2.4 billion Amtrak requested—and well below the $32 billion the American Public Transportation Association identified as necessary for transit agencies earlier this fall—the bipartisan group of eight senators made clear that the bill was a short-term fix to provide emergency funding between now and March 31, 2021. In that context, this bill would be sufficient to return daily service to all long-distance routes, and potentially State-supported routes as well.
Gang of 8 Transportation Relief Proposal: $45 billion
- Amtrak: $1 billion [Requested: $2.4 billion;
- Transit: $15 billion [Requested: at least $32 billion];
- Airlines: $17 billion – [Requested: $25 billion];
- Airports: $4 billion – [Requested: $13 billion];
- Private buses: $8 billion – [Requested: $10 billion].
There is still a lot of work to do. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has offered his own $500 billion ‘skinny relief package,’ with no money of any kind for transportation. However, this is the first real bipartisan movement we’ve seen on a bill that would return daily service to Amtrak’s National Network and it needs public support.
Please act now! We need your help over the next week to ensure that Amtrak and transit is part of the final deal.
Senate Republicans are indicating that if a coronavirus relief package is to pass, it must pass as part of the omnibus funding bill. The current Continuing Resolution expires on December 11th. That means Congress has nine days to avoid a government shutdown and get critically needed funds in the hands of U.S. citizens, local governments, and American businesses.
"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.