New federal funds will support the construction and modernization of railroad infrastructure

 New federal funds will support the construction and modernization of railroad infrastructure

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the
Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD)
today issued the following statement regarding a $2.45 billion Railroad
Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan for Amtrak from the Federal
Railroad Administration.

«This RRIF loan from the Federal Railroad Administration will help Amtrak purchase
new, state-of-the-art, American-made trains and equipment to better serve passengers
along the Northeast corridor. This is a smart way to leverage federal dollars to
spur investment while strengthening both our transportation infrastructure and the
economy. Amtrak is a key link for the Northeast. This RRIF loan will help provide
affordable financing for critical upgrades needed to enhance safety and improve
passenger rail service,» said Reed.

Amtrak will use the RRIF loan to finance the purchase of 28 new trainsets, which
will be built in the United States, for dedicated use on the Acela service on the
Northeast Corridor, and to fund capital spares, program management, safety
enhancements, facility improvements, station and platform improvements and ride
quality improvements.

Along with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Reed included $1.42 billion for Amtrak in
the fiscal year 2017 THUD Appropriations Bill, a $30 million increase over fiscal
year 2016. The bill also includes newly-authorized FAST Act grant programs for rail
safety and state-of-good-repair investments across the country, including: $50
million for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grants, $20
million for Federal State Partnership for State of Good Repair Grants, and $15
million for Rail Restoration and Enhancement Grants.

The RRIF program allows the FRA Administrator to provide direct loans and loan
guarantees up to $35 billion to finance development of railroad infrastructure.
Loan applicants must go through a rigorous analysis of eligibility and
creditworthiness before being approved for financing.

Last year, Senator Reed helped pass the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation
(FAST) Act (Pub. L. No. 114-94), which included several key reforms to the RRIF
program to accelerate improvements to major rail projects along the Northeast
corridor and throughout the country.

The 457-mile Northeast Corridor is the busiest passenger railway in the nation,
carrying an average of over 750,000 passengers per day on more than 2,200 trains,
according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). In 2014, 11.6 million
passengers rode on Amtrak’s Northeast Regional and Acela Express services.

The loan is the largest to be issued through the RRIF program to date, according to
the U.S. Department of Transportation.