Amtrak gets nearly $2 billion in federal funding, rather than a steep cut that President Trump proposed, under a broad spending measure released Wednesday.
Trump had proposed cutting $630 million from the national passenger railroad’s federal subsidies for the year that started Oct. 1, out of $1.4 billion provided the previous year.
“Amtrak’s long-distance trains do not serve a vital transportation purpose and are a vestige of when train service was the only viable transcontinental transportation option,” Trump’s budget said.
But the spending bill provides $1.3 billion for the long-distance network. The bill also provides $650 million to Amtrak for the Northeast Corridor (NEC), the popular route which runs from Washington, D.C., to Boston.
“Amtrak thanks Congress for recognizing the importance of intercity passenger rail and the Northeast Corridor,” Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson said. “The increased NEC capital funding will allow us to address many important needs along the corridor and we look forward to working closely with the Department of Transportation on investing these funds to advance the most critical projects.”
The bill also provides $250 million to help railroads install automatic-braking technology that Congress has required, in an effort to prevent derailments and collisions. Overall rail spending grew to $3.1 billion, up $1.2 billion from the previous year.
“This is the most significant rail investment in a decade,” said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J.
Congress is scheduled to vote on the $1.3 trillion, 2,232 bill this week.
More about Amtrak and other railroads:
The funding came despite complaints about the railroad. In the months since Trump’s budget blueprint was released, Amtrak suffered several fatal accidents, including a Feb. 4 collision with a freight train in South Carolina that killed two crew members, a Jan. 31 collision with a garbage truck in Virginia that killed the truck driver, and a Dec. 18 derailment in Washington state that killed three passengers.