Moving Forward Act - Passenger Rail Amendment Tracker
June 29, 2020
With the U.S. House of Representatives scheduled to take up debate tomorrow of the INVEST in America Act—the transportation section of the larger Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2)—Rail Passengers has been tracking passenger rail amendments over the past week. We’re pleased to report that none of the anti-Amtrak amendments that we’ve been forced to defeat over the past were even proposed—a testament to the power of the political coalition we’ve slowly built over the last few years.
Even better, we’ve seen a number of positive amendments offered by individual representatives. An amendment offered by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) to speed delivery of the Long Bridge Project between Virginia and D.C. by directing the National Parks Service to transfer the land needed for the new rail bridge to local governments, adopted as part of the manager’s amendment. The Long Bridge Project will ease a key chokepoint on the Northeast Corridor and allow for the development of high-speed rail between D.C. and Richmond, VA.
We’ve also seen a number of other pro-rail amendments that, due to the difficulty of voting while maintaining social distancing, will be voted on by Representatives as part of a bundle of transportation-focused amendments. We have reached out to House members to offer our endorsement of these amendments and encourage you to do the same. You can reach the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
RAIL PASSENGERS ENDORSED AMENDMENTS
6. Kaptur (OH), Ryan (OH) #184 (REVISED): Expresses the sense of Congress disapproving of Amtrak's recent announcement drastically limiting daily long-distance train service to hundreds of communities across the nation.
12. McNerney (CA), Harder (CA), Cox (CA), Thompson, Mike (CA), Costa (CA) #234: Requires Amtrak to develop ridership and station staffing projections as part of its now required capital and operating projections, to help state and local government better understand how costs and ridership trends for local services.
16. Moulton (MA) #14: Expands public benefits considered in costbenefit analyses for Passenger Rail Improvement, Modernization, and Expansion (PRIME) Grants to include induced demand and regional and local economic gains, including increased competitiveness, productivity, efficiency, and economic development.
17. Moulton (MA) #84 (REVISED): Grants the Federal Railroad Administration advance acquisition authority for rail projects receiving federal funds, just as is given to the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration. Advance acquisition will not allow development on acquired right-of-way or adjacent real property interests prior to completing review and planning requirements.
"I wish to extend my appreciation to members of the Rail Passengers Association for their steadfast advocacy to protect not only the Southwest Chief, but all rail transportation which plays such an important role in our economy and local communities. I look forward to continuing this close partnership, both with America’s rail passengers and our bipartisan group of senators, to ensure a bright future for the Southwest Chief route."
Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS)
April 2, 2019, on receiving the Association's Golden Spike Award for his work to protect the Southwest Chief