Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) recently introduced a bipartisan bill that intends to heighten passenger rail safety, improve existing rail infrastructure, and reauthorize Amtrak services.
The Railroad Reform, Enhancement and Efficiency Act could be voted on as early as next week by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
“The nation’s passenger rail system serves as an integral part of our overall transportation structure and our economy,” Wicker said. “The tragic accident in Pennsylvania last month was a heartbreaking reminder that the system is far from perfect. This bipartisan measure would make robust improvements to safety programs, improve existing infrastructure, and empower state and local officials."
Wicker also said the bill leverages private-sector investment, cuts red tape and increases transparency to make critical infrastructure dollars go further.
“To help the United States compete globally, we must invest in a safe and reliable passenger rail system that Americans can depend on,” Booker said. “But too often our rail system falls short due to a lack of adequate infrastructure investment. Our bipartisan bill takes important steps to improve rail safety in the wake of last month’s tragic derailment, modernize our aging passenger rail network, and maximize investments in infrastructure through improved financing and grant programs. The legislation allows Amtrak to reinvest Northeast Corridor profits back into improving Northeast Corridor infrastructure, including throughout New Jersey. This will help advance critical but long overdue initiatives like building the Gateway Project which adds a new tunnel under the Hudson River and replacing the declining Portal Bridge.”