U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 749, the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 by a bipartisan vote of 316-101. H.R. 749 will improve rail grant programs available to states, reduce costs, help leverage private investments, and increase transparency for Amtrak. Specifically, this bill reauthorizes grant programs that can be used to relocate passenger and freight rail lines.
“I am pleased by the amount of bipartisan support shown by my House colleagues for improving passenger rail,” said Davis. “This bill will enhance our nation’s passenger rail network by accelerating projects, like the 10th Street rail consolidation project in Springfield, that are critical to improving rail infrastructure. By authorizing funds to be used for freight and passenger rail lines to be relocated to less congested areas, we can help Amtrak improve its service and therefore, maximize the investment made by taxpayers.”
H.R. 749, the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015, which Davis first supported in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, makes the following changes to passenger rail:
- It includes funds for state grants to improve passenger rail service and to relocate rail lines.
- Reauthorizes the Rail Line Relocation and Improvement Capital Grant program (RLR) and the Intercity Passenger Rail Service Corridor Capital Assistance program to allow for the relocation of both passenger and freight rail lines.
- The bill streamlines the environmental review process to ensure time and money are not wasted with bureaucratic red tape.
- PRRIA also improves the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan process to give greater certainty to states and railroads seeking funding.
- Strengthens transparency by requiring Amtrak to report its operating expenses to Congress and complete a detailed five-year capital and financial plan.
- Leverages private investment by creating station development opportunities for the private sector.