With a series of critical deadlines facing Congress this month, the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure took the lead with the transportation section of the Democrat’s budget reconciliation bill dropping earlier today. The outline includes $10 billion for high-speed rail, $150 million for credit risk premium assistance under the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program, $10 billion for transit and housing, and $4 billion to reduce surface transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.
“We applaud Chairs Peter DeFazio and Donald Payne, along with the rest of the House Transportation Committee, for including high-speed rail in the budget reconciliation package,” said Jim Mathews, Rail Passengers President & CEO. “High-speed rail is an essential component of any modern passenger rail network—one that was unfortunately left out of the Senate bipartisan infrastructure bill. Providing dedicated funding for high-speed rail will support development of new corridors and allow tens of millions of additional Americans to choose to travel by train.”
In addition to high-speed rail, the House transportation outline includes an innovative new program that will provide grants to improve transportation access for economically disadvantaged communities. The program will be administered jointly by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Transit Administrator, and will fund projects to improve mobility for low-income riders; enhance access to jobs, educational opportunities and community services; and create new and improved transit links to housing.
The House T&I Committee is expected to release the text of the bill over the weekend, and will mark up the bill on Tuesday, September 14.
There are still a number of significant hurdles to clear for the budget reconciliation as a whole, which will have to secure the votes of all 50 Democratic Senators.
We need to work to make sure that passenger rail isn't dropped from the final bill. Join us in publicly supporting high-speed rail by using social media to tell your Members of Congress: “I support funding for high speed rail!”