Happening Now

Great News for Rail Passengers in Fiscal Year 2018 Budget!

March 22, 2018

Congress significantly increased funding for Amtrak, passenger rail, and transit as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, a victory for passenger advocates that’s been a long time in the works.

The bill includes $2.813 billion for intercity rail--an increase of $1.3 billion over last year! That figure includes $1.9 billion for Amtrak ($650 million for the Northeast Corridor and $1.3 billion for the National Network); $593 million for the Consolidated Rail Improvement, which includes $250 million for PTC implementation; $250 million for the State of Good Repair program; and $20 million for the Rail Restoration program, which will be instrumental in restoring rail service to the Gulf Coast.

The House has already passed the bill, and the Senate is expected to follow tomorrow.

"We'd like to thank all the advocates who joined us in working hard to advance the cause of passengers in this bill. It was no easy feat, but it looks like that hard work is about to pay off," said Rail Passengers President Jim Mathews. "Congress has shown real leadership, and now it's up to Amtrak and the states to take this funding and go to work immediately. That means purchasing new equipment for the National Network, addressing state of good repair, and addressing the critical chokepoints facing the Northeast Corridor and corridors across the US."

Passenger Rail Funding (in millions)

FY2017 Appropriated Levels

FAST Act FY2018 Authorized Levels

White House FY2018 Budget Proposal

House THUD FY2018 Budget

Senate THUD FY2018 Budget

Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Levels


Amtrak - National Network







Amtrak - NEC







Consolidated Rail Infrastructure & Safety Grants







Federal State Partnership For State Of Good Repair







Restoration & Enhancement Grants














The budget also contained good news for transit, with $10.3 billion for transit formula grants; $2.64 billion for the New Starts program, including $716 million for Core Capacity and $400 million for Small Starts; $150 million for DC Metro Rail; and $1.5 billion for the multi-modal TIGER program, three times as much as was provided for FY2017.

This victory for train passengers comes in spite of the two-front war that the Trump Administration has been waging on passenger rail issues—including a threat to veto the FY 2018 omnibus if it contained rail grant funding that could be directed towards the Hudson River tunnels.

While the Hudson River tunnels were never explicitly mentioned, the committee bills did include language that would have granted them pole position in any grant application process. To assuage the President, Congressional leaders removed that language, likely shifting the money to other rail projects. However, leadership did include an extra $328 million for Amtrak Northeast Corridor grants, which Amtrak is theoretically able to use towards Gateway projects without U.S. DOT consent. And since transit formula funding was increased, New York and New Jersey will have over $153 million to use towards the tunnels.