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Senate committee ups Amtrak appropriation, cuts high-speed rail funding

(The following appeared on the Progressive Railroading website on July 23, 2010.)

Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a transportation bill that would provide Amtrak $1.96 billion, $666 million short of what the national passenger railroad requested. However, the amount would be $196.5 million more than the House’s proposed appropriation and about $363 million more than what the Obama Administration requested.

It’s unclear how these figures would affect Amtrak’s financial plan, which contains key elements of a fleet renewal and reinvestment strategy, said National Association of Railroad Passengers officials in a prepared statement. Fleet renewal would enable Amtrak to accommodate rising public demand for trains and revitalize the U.S. passenger railcar production industry, they said.

However, the Senate also voted to provide only $1 billion for the high-speed rail program, $400 million less than what the House Appropriations Committee approved and less than half of the $2.5 billion the program received last year.

Monday, July 26, 2010

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