Action Needed: Call for Better 2014 Amtrak Funding!

Written By Malcolm Kenton

On Friday, the House Appropriations Committee released fiscal 2014 spending levelsfor transportation that savage Amtrak, state corridor development, and high speed rail. Amtrak would get just $950 million, down 31% from this year. The High Speed & Intercity Passenger Rail Program—which has funded projects ranging from improvements to Maine’s Downeaster to development of a new 220 mph statewide high speed system in California—received was zeroed out. Meanwhile, aviation and transit (ignoring the special Superstorm Sandy money) were cut less than 1%; the Federal Highway Administration less than 3%.

Thankfully, the Senate Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee passed its version of the 2014 funding bill today (Tuesday), which has a more appropriate number: $1.45 billion for Amtrak, which is $137 million more than the current year level. The bill also contains $100 million for High-Performance Passenger Rail grants to states, which is inadequate given states' heavy demand for this funding, but it keeps this much-needed program alive.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, June 26) at 10:30 AM Eastern, the full House Appropriations Committee will consider the transportation spending bill. Rep. David Price (D-NC) has said he will offer an amendment to restore Amtrak funding in the bill to the current-year (post-sequestration) level of $1.31 billion.

Please call your Representative ASAP, via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. If your Representative is on the Appropriations Committee, urge him or her to vote for the Price Amendment to the THUD Appropriations Bill. If your Representative is not on the Committee, ask him or her to solicit a Yes vote from colleagues who are on the Committee.

You can watch a Webcast of Wednesday morning's Appropriations Committee markup session here.

Thank you for acting to secure the bright future for American passenger trains that we all know the public is demanding.