APTA urges lawmakers to establish passenger rail trust fund

APTA CEO says dedicated funding for passenger rail is critical

May 25, 2021 / 2 minute read
passenger rail

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) recently submitted testimony for the record for a House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing.

The hearing titled “When Unlimited Potential Meets Limited Resources: The Benefits and Challenges of High-Speed Rail and Emerging Rail Technologies” was held on May 6, 2021. Highlights from APTA President & CEO Paul P. Skoutelas’ submitted testimony are below.

“APTA believes that the transportation investments of today will be the foundation of a forward-looking strategy to establish safe, reliable, efficient, integrated, and climate-friendly alternatives for moving people. America has an opportunity to build a high-performance rail network to position us to overcome our economic challenges and compete in the global marketplace in the coming years.

Passenger rail is an underutilized mode, and ripe to connect with national and local transportation networks and rural areas with high-performance corridor services. These services will relieve congestion on highways and airspace and provide efficient, accessible, equitable, and environmental-friendly mobility options. New and reinvigorated rail corridors will have multiple users and would connect seamlessly with Amtrak and local and regional public transit services. Development of a national network and national rail plan should be guided by federal, state, and regional planning efforts, and coordinated with the various state-supported intercity passenger rail corridors.

Dedicated funding for passenger rail is critical to realize these goals. To that end, APTA strongly urges Congress and the Biden Administration to establish a robust Passenger Rail Trust Fund supported through new revenues, other than revenues dedicated to the Highway Trust Fund, to provide long-term certainty necessary for planning and funding multi-year projects and state-of-good-repair investments. Leveraging these funding streams with federal financing programs will further facilitate project delivery.”

As part of the submitted testimony, a copy of APTA’s “Vision for Connecting America’s Urban and Rural Communities with Passenger Rail” was also included. APTA says the document outlines the need for robust investment in America’s passenger rail networks to make the economy stronger, the environment cleaner, and economic and social opportunity more equitable—benefits that will sustain their transformative power over time.

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SOURCE: American Public Transportation Association

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