/Coalition Letter Urging Infrastructure Investment in FY 2020

Coalition Letter Urging Infrastructure Investment in FY 2020

Coalition Letter Urging Infrastructure Investment in FY 2020

2019-05-31T15:09:15-04:00May 22, 2019|

The Honorable Richard Shelby
Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Patrick Leahy
Vice Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Susan M. Collins
Chairman, THUD Subcommitte
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Jack Reed
Ranking Member, THUD Subcommittee
Committee on Appropriations
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Shelby, Vice Chairman Leahy, Chairman Collins, and Ranking Member Reed:

I write to you on behalf of the OneRail Coalition, a diverse group of rail stakeholders, including freight rail, commuter rail, intercity passenger rail, rail labor, and rail suppliers, who have come together to educate America about the benefits of strong freight and passenger rail systems. Investing in rail creates and supports good American jobs, spurs economic growth, relieves road and air congestion, protects the environment, and facilitates growth in one of the safest modes of transportation.

As the Committee prepares the fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations bill, OneRail urges you to support a significant allocation for the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) subcommittee to support investments in transportation, particularly rail infrastructure and operations. The most recent two-year budget deal allowed Congress to enact FY18 and FY19 appropriations bills with substantially increased transportation funding. It is critical Congress once again lift the budget caps to avoid sequestration and continue the momentum. Further, FY20 THUD appropriations should include robust investments in a strong and resilient infrastructure by funding the following programs:

Amtrak: $1.94 billion. Amtrak should be funded at least the current FY19 funding level totaling $1.94 billion, including $650 million for the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and $1.29 billion for the National Network. CRISI: $330 million. The Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program provides competitive grants for important safety and capital projects and should be funded at the FAST Act-authorized level.
CIG: $2.6 billion. The Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program provides funding for commuter, heavy, and light rail projects that relieve congestion and provide access to new mobility options. CIG should receive at least $2.6 billion, consistent with FY18 and FY19. Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair: $400 million. The program provides funding for capital projects to improve or replace faltering rail infrastructure assets and should receive at least the current FY19 amount of $400 million.
Restoration and Enhancement: $20 million. The Restoration and Enhancement program funds the restoration and improvement of intercity passenger rail routes for underserved communities. The program should be funded at the FAST Act-authorized level of $20 million. TIGER/BUILD: $1 billion. National Infrastructure Investments, also known as TIGER or BUILD, provide competitive, meritbased grants that enable innovative, multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional projects. The program should be funded at the level consistent with the President’s budget request and include eligibility for both TIFIA and RRIF Credit Risk Premium (CRP) subsidies.

 

Additional Infrastructure Programs. OneRail also supports any opportunities to increase infrastructure funding authorized in the FAST Act for the Section 130 railway-highway grade crossings program and the INFRA/Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects grant program without a cap on multimodal funding.

Truck Length and Weight. In addition to the programs listed above, OneRail recommends that no change be made to the current federal limitations on truck length and weight.

In conclusion, freight and passenger rail are a crucial component of an efficient transportation network allowing people and goods to move quickly and safely to their destinations, while enhancing productivity and economic competitiveness, reducing transportation related fatalities, creating good domestic jobs, both direct and indirect, reducing dangerous emissions, and relieving highway and air congestion. And while the Class I railroads invest an average of $25 billion per year in their rail systems, the nation’s commuter and intercity rail systems are in dire need of significant public investment to rehabilitate or replace 100+ year old infrastructure to meet growing demand for safer, more environmentally friendly ways to travel.

The OneRail Coalition thanks you for your consideration and important work on the Senate Appropriations Committee. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss the benefits of rail investments in greater detail with you at your convenience.

Sincerely,
Anne P. Canby, Director
OneRail Coalition

 

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