Senators Try Again to Fund and Reform Amtrak

The Washington Post covers an encouraging announcement by Senators Lautenberg and Lott regarding their reintroduction of a bill that would do a lot to improve the state of American passenger rail.

The bill would authorize $1.7 billion in debt repayment, $7.8 billion in new bonding authority and $300 million a year in grants that would have to be matched by states.

Lautenberg and Lott said that local matching grants would encourage overall investment in the system as well as states’ sharing in the cost of providing services to less popular destinations, which generally require the largest subsidies.

State access to Federal matching funds is the most important step here, since the absence of this has discouraged investment in rail for a long time. Let’s hope this makes it through the Senate and doesn’t die in the House as it did last time.

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