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.
"We would not be in the position we’re in if it weren’t for the advocacy of so many of you, over a long period of time, who have believed in passenger rail, and believe that passenger rail should really be a part of America’s intermodal transportation system."
Secretary Ray LaHood, U.S. Department of Transportation
2011 Spring Council Meeting