October 13, 2023
(Washington, D.C.) – On September 22, Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1), Don Bacon (R-NE-2), Emilia Sykes (D-OH-34) and Seth Moulton (D-MA-06), along with 73 other members of Congress, sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee leaders expressing concern with the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) funding for rail. The members specifically raise concerns with the funding allocated to the Northeast Corridor (NEC), which is Amtrak's most heavily utilized route, and the funding allocated to the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program.
Within the FY24 Appropriations bill, the House Appropriations Committee has proposed cutting Amtrak funding by 64% from the previous fiscal year. Members of Congress requested changes be made to the FY24 Appropriations budget to adequately fund Amtrak, stating that advance appropriations from the IIJA alone cannot sustain Amtrak operations.
The proposed budget cuts would also result in 92% cut in funding to the NEC, which spans over 450 miles and serves as the backbone for rail transportation in the area. The letter emphasizes the NEC's role as a critical transportation service in the Northeast and demonstrates that the proposed funding reduction would halt infrastructure repairs and significantly disadvantage the millions of individuals who utilize the NEC for travel, business, and commuting. Members of Congress asserted that failing to address the substantial lack of funding would inhibit capital development, disrupt connectivity, and interrupt the workforce not only in the Northeast but across the country.
The letter also highlights the proposed elimination of the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program. This program directs funds toward the development and improvement of intercity passenger rail services. Many of the CNEC rail suppliers, manufacturers, and businesses rely on this program to fund rail construction projects and manufacturing jobs. Most importantly, this program enables the rail industry to build safe and reliable rail connections for passengers traveling between communities and businesses nationwide. Members of Congress reaffirmed many much-needed projects are still underway through this program.
The Members of Congress concluded the letter by encouraging Congress to, “provide robust funding for Amtrak and its passenger rail services in the final Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations legislation”.
CNEC proudly endorses this letter and hopes that the House Appropriations Committee Members reconsider funding levels for the 2024 fiscal year and prioritize the development and improvement of passenger rail service within the Northeast Corridor, to support economic growth and reduce congestion for all Americans.