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Rail Passengers Statement on Proposed House Cuts to Rail

June 26, 2024

Statement from Rail Passengers Association President Jim Mathews in response to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) draft Fiscal Year 2025 Appropriations Act.

For Immediate Release (24-5)
Contact: M. Ned Butler ([email protected])

Rail Passengers Statement on House Appropriations Committee’s Proposed Cuts to Rail Funding

Washington, D.C.—The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) released its draft Fiscal Year 2025 Appropriations Act today, outlining $212 million in proposed cuts to rail programs. That includes a 12 percent cut to Amtrak operations and a 15 percent cut to railroad safety research.

The Committee budget proposal would cut operational funding to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor by $139 million compared to Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) levels, with a $163 million cut to the National Network account. It would also zero out discretionary funding for the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail, a popular program that is helping states upgrade and expand America’s intercity passenger rail network, and reduces funding for railroad safety research by $8 million.

The draft bill also cuts funding to the Federal Transit Administration by $1.3 billion compared to FY24, with a 66 percent reduction to Capital Investment Grants—a critical program for building new rail transit and bus rapid transit routes.

Highways would receive $63.5 billion, an increase of $552 million above FY24; and the Federal Aviation Administration would receive $21.7 billion, an increase of $1.6 billion.

“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has provided a bipartisan framework for correcting decades of underinvestment in rail and transit, and it’s disappointing to see House appropriators reject that bipartisan approach with this budget proposal,” said Rail Passengers Association President Jim Mathews. “It’s particularly frustrating because, absent these cuts, work on upgrading and expanding the U.S. intercity rail network is poised to finally take off this summer. Amtrak is on pace to almost double the capital expenditures it’s making to upgrade and replace aging bridges, tunnels, stations, and railcars long past their useful lifespan. We’ve seen millions of American passengers suffer through infrastructure failures over the past month, particularly on the Northeast Corridor. Congress should be working to accelerate modernization work, not cutting the operations budget Amtrak needs to run the trains and oversee construction.”

Rail Passengers was particularly disappointed to see the zeroing out of the popular Fed-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program, which is a vital program for Western, Midwestern, and Sunbelt states looking to expand and upgrade intercity service. In April of this year, Brightline West broke ground on a high-speed rail corridor that will connect Las Vegas to Southern California, with the goal of launching operation in 2028. This project is only possible thanks to a $3.5 billion grant provided through the Fed-State Partnership Program, and zeroing out discretionary funding will hinder the development of these kinds of innovative Public-Private Partnerships.

The Committee is scheduled to markup this bill Thursday, June 27 at 8:30PM Eastern. Rail Passengers is working with House appropriators to explain the benefits of robust operational funding for Amtrak, and will be providing further policy analysis of the proposed T-HUD bill in the coming days.

Federal Funding for Intercity Passenger Rail Programs


FY24 Enacted

FY25 IIJA Authorized

FY25 President’s Request

FY25 House Proposed

Amtrak - NEC





Amtrak - National Network





FRA Operations





Fed-State Partnership for ICPR





CRISI Grants





RR Crossing Elimination Grants





Restoration & Enhancement Grants











About the 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.