Rail Passengers Association warns about impact of proposed cuts to passenger rail investment

© Shutterstock

Members of the Rail Passengers Association joined U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) Friday to warn that proposed cuts to federal rail investment would impact critical infrastructure investments.

DeLauro and Rail Passengers President and CEO Jim Mathews joined City of New Haven, Conn. Director of Transportation Sandeep Aysola, and said the proposed cuts could claw back funding designated for programs that have already passed as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“With the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, Congress came together to provide a historic level of investment in our infrastructure,” Mathews said. “We have already started to undo the damage of decades of neglect and disinvestment in these systems, and are seeing the benefits. We cannot afford to waiver now.”

Mathews said sweeping cuts to Amtrak’s budget would affect Americans all across the country.

“Amtrak is an essential transportation link in the Northeast — without the 2,200 daily trains and 260 million annual trips it carries, the lives of tens of millions of Americans would be severely disrupted,” Mathews said. “But Amtrak also plays a critical role for the 62 million people who live in Rural America, a quarter of whom are veterans, and another quarter are senior citizens over the age 65. Almost one-fifth of Amtrak’s passengers travel to or from a rural station with no access to air service.”

Since the passage of the BIL, Amtrak has already started to rebuild bridges and tunnels along the Northeast Corridor, some initially built during the Civil War.

“If we cut Amtrak’s budget with no regard to the communities who depend on it, we will be saving millions but costing our economy billions. We must continue these investments in our physical infrastructure to ensure a bright future for this country,” Mathews said.