Dear Passenger Rail Supporters,

Sometime this week the U.S. Senate is likely to bring S. 2844 to the floor, the FY 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Act.

MIPRC has sent a letter to all U.S. Senators representing Midwestern states, asking them to strongly support and protect passenger rail-related appropriations when the bill is considered on the Senate floor.

While the passenger rail funding isn’t as robust as we had hoped (when we submitted “outside witness testimony” to the THUD subcommittee on Appropriations, we asked for full funding of Amtrak and the three new intercity passenger rail-related grant programs at the levels authorized in the FAST Act), the fact that funding is provided for each of the three new intercity passenger rail grants is good progress – the FY 2016 THUD appropriations did not include funding for any of the grant programs. Also, the amount designated to Amtrak for the National Network (everything outside the Northeast Corridor) is actually more than what the FAST Act authorized, plus $525 million is provided for TIGER.

We want to see this funding protected. Please consider contacting your U.S. Senators and asking them to strongly support/protect the passenger rail-related appropriations within S. 2844.

MIPRC’s letter asks Midwestern U.S. Senators to strongly support all of the passenger rail-related appropriations contained within the THUD appropriations legislation passed by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee (S. 2844), including:

  1. Amtrak ($1.075 billion for the National Network, including up to $2 million for use of the State-Supported Route Committee; and $345 million for the NEC);
  2. Appropriations for all three of the new FAST Act passenger rail-related grant programs:
    Consolidated Rail Infrastructure & Safety Grants (CRISI) at $50 million;
    Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair at $20 Million;
    Restoration & Enhancement Grants at $15 million; and
  3. TIGER (National Infrastructure Investments) at $525 million.

FYI, the FAST Act authorized a total of $350.5 million for the three new passenger rail grant programs in FY 2017. MIPRC would like to see Congress move towards full funding of all the passenger rail-related provisions at the authorized levels within the FAST Act, but we understand the current fiscal constraints facing FY 2017 appropriations. We have indicated that we appreciate the Senate subcommittee’s work this year to provide some funding for each of the three programs, and ask that the $85 million allocated to these programs this fiscal year, and the division of allocation, be strongly protected.

Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission