CNEC Reflects on its 2020 Accomplishments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


January 5, 2021


CONTACT


Mike Friedberg

Mike.Friedberg@hklaw.com

202-469-5131


(Washington, D.C.) – Throughout 2020, members of the Coalition of the Northeast Corridor (CNEC) actively advocated for major accomplishments impacting the Northeast Corridor (NEC).


“CNEC members should be proud of what they accomplished in 2020, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We secured language expanding the eligibility of State of Good Repair projects, garnered support for the Portal North Bridge, and secured COVID relief funds for Amtrak and other transit infrastructure along the NEC, amongst other efforts,” said Mike Friedberg CNEC Executive Director. “We look forward to working with Congress and the Biden-Harris administration in 2021 to further advance CNEC’s goals and priorities.”


Overview of CNEC 2020 Accomplishments


January-February

  • Advocated for CNEC’s surface transportation reauthorization proposal, as well as appropriations language to expand eligibility for Federal State Partnership for State of Good Repair (SOGR) and provide $400 million for the Program.

  • Advocated for fair consideration from the Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration (DOT/FTA) for the Portal North Bridge (PNB) project. In February, FTA released new ratings, giving PNB a medium-high rating under the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program.

March - April

  • Participated in virtual meetings with members of Congress to expand eligibility for the SOGR Program to ensure it operates as legislatively intended.

  • Sent letter to leadership on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the House Appropriations Committee urging them to include CNEC infrastructure priorities in the CARES Act.

May

  • New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy named Amit Bose, CNEC Chairman of the Board, to the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee of the Restart and Recovery Advisory Council. The purpose of the Council is to bring together leaders from diverse industry groups and community organizations throughout New Jersey to advise state leadership on economic matters impacted by COVID-19.

  • Secured the following provision in the CARES Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020: $25 billion for transit infrastructure to remain available until expended, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. Funds were apportioned by the same ratio of fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations through formula programs, including $7.6 billion for the SOGR Program.

  • Supported $139 million in federal grants that were awarded to New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New Jersey Transit to invest in Gateway transit projects, including the PNB and Penn Station through SOGR to facilitate safer, more efficient travel along the NEC.

June

  • Successfully advocated for the inclusion of NEC rail priorities in the House’s Moving Forward Act, a $1.5 trillion plan to rebuild American infrastructure. The bill would triple funding for Amtrak to $29 billion, allowing for upgrades and expansion of the passenger rail network.

  • Mitch Warren, Executive Director of the NEC Commission presented their Service Development Plan to CNEC.

  • DOT Secretary Elaine Chao approved the start of the engineering phase for the PNB and pledged $766.6 million in grant funding for future work.

July

  • CNEC’s secured language to expand eligibility for the SOGR program in the House Transportation/Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill that passed the House. The bill also included $200 million for the Program.

  • Advocated for an additional $26 billion in emergency funding for transportation programs to strengthen and make our nation’s aging infrastructure more resilient while also supporting economic recovery from the COVID pandemic in the Heroes Act.

August-September

  • CNEC hosted a Zoom presentation with Amtrak CEO William Flynn.

  • DOT awarded $248 million in FY 2018 and FY 2019 funding through the FTA’s CIG Program for the PNB.

  • Supported passage of a one-year surface transportation reauthorization bill which was packaged in the continuing resolution to fund the federal government through December 11, 2020. This included: Sec. 1104. (a) repeals subsection (d) of 49 U.S.C. §24321, which would otherwise cut off Amtrak subsidies for losses on food and beverage service on December 4, 2020. (b) Extends the sunset date of the RRIF subprogram for development-oriented loans from September 30, 2020 to September 30, 2021.

  • Supported Amtrak provisions in the updated Heroes Act. If enacted, Amtrak would receive $2.4 billion, including $569 million to help states and commuter rail providers in making statutorily required payments to Amtrak for state-supported routes and commuter rail service on the NEC.

October-November

  • DOT awarded $291 million in grants for 11 intercity rail projects in nine states through the SOGR. Six projects were selected from the NEC.

  • CNEC secured language to expand eligibility for the SOGR Program in the FY 2021 Senate THUD appropriations bill. The bill also included $225 million for the Program.

December

  • CNEC members met with Congress Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ) to discuss the legislative needs of the NEC during the 117th Congress.

  • CNEC met with the office of Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), who will serve as the House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman during the 117th Congress, to discuss the importance of funding critical projects along the NEC.

  • CNEC met with the Biden-Harris transition team to discuss passenger rail and infrastructure needs of the NEC.

  • CNEC secured language to expand the eligibility for the SOGR Program in the combined COVID relief and FY 2021 omnibus package, which was signed into law by President Trump on December 27. The bill provides $200 million for the Program.

CNEC is the business community’s voice for strengthening rail infrastructure in order to reduce congestion, create jobs and grow the economy. We represent diverse stakeholders who rely on the Corridor to conduct commerce, access customers, and transport employees.

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202-469-5131

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