President Proposes $19 Billion for Passenger Trains!

The following was in an email blast sent to all members of the National Association of Railroad Passengers. I would urge everyone to contact their two senators and member of Congress in support of this package. Thanks!

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The Obama Administration has released details on a $302 billion transportation package that includes $19 billion over four years for passenger trains. The proposal also includes $72 billion for transit over four years—a 70% increase over current levels—that will fund commuter rail systems, streetcars, and light rail lines across the U.S. The President’s transportation plan is paid for through corporate tax reform—a principle that is being supported by leading Republicans.

The President has offered a fantastic framework, moving passenger rail funding from year-to-year appropriation battles to a dedicated, guaranteed source of funding; this will allow Amtrak and states to do multi-year planning. While the numbers are lower than last year’s budget request, the priorities are right on, striking the right balance between maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure, strengthening the national network, and allowing states to develop high speed rail. The amount of money identified for long distance trains even improved to $850 million per year—a $50 million increase!

[Read a full breakdown on the the NARP Blog]

NARP is asking Congress to enact these good ideas. We’re also asking them to provide even more funding, because that is what is needed to bring U.S. passenger rail into the 21st Century.

“I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it.” It’s a line attributed to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and it’s a recognition that in democracies change happens from the bottom up. We know President Obama understands the value of trains. Now it’s up to America’s passengers to make sure Congress turns these values into law.