From: The Honorable James A. Himes
Sent By:
justin.meuse@mail.house.gov

Date: 3/28/2017

Letter Sign On Deadline: COB Friday, March 31

 

Dear Colleague:

Please join me in requesting funds for maintaining and rebuilding our Nation’s aging passenger rail infrastructure. My letter requests $175 million for the Federal State Partnership for State of Good Repair grant program
– in line with the amount authorized by the FAST Act for FY2018.

Damaged rails, aging bridges and tunnels, century-old signaling, and other decrepit rail infrastructure cause delays across the country every day. According to the Senate Appropriations Committee report on their T-HUD
bill last year, there is a $28 billion state of good repair backlog on projects along the Northeast Corridor alone.

The Federal State Partnership for State of Good Repair grant program was created to help states, Amtrak, commuter rail agencies, interstate compacts and transit authorities address their deferred maintenance backlogs.

Unfortunately, due to the way the year-end omnibus appropriations package in 2015 was written, no money has been appropriated to this much-needed program. Subsequent CRs have preserved this omission. It is time that
Congress appropriated money for this critical program.

If you have any questions or would like to sign on, please contact Justin Meuse on my staff at Justin.Meuse@mail.house.gov.

 

Sincerely,

Jim Himes

 

_____________

April 3, 2017

The Honorable Mario Diaz-Balart                              The Honorable David Price
Chairman                                                               Ranking Member
House Appropriations Committee                             House Appropriations Committee
Subcommittee on Transportation,                            Subcommittee on Transportation,
Housing and Urban Development                             Housing and Urban Development
Washington, DC  20515                                          Washington, DC  20515

Dear Chairman Diaz-Balart and Ranking Member Price:

As you begin debating and drafting the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations package for Fiscal Year 2018, we urge you to fully fund the Federal State Partnership for State of Good Repair grant
program at $175 million. This is in line with the amount authorized by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (P.L. 114-94).

Passenger rail is critical to our nation’s economy. Amtrak, for instance, reported 31.3 million riders in the 2016 Fiscal Year – a new record, and about 400,000 more than in FY2015. Similarly, there were approximately
498 million commuter rail trips in the same year.

There is, however, a growing backlog of state of good repair projects nationwide – especially on some of our most highly-traveled passenger routes. Damaged rails, aging bridges and tunnels, century-old signaling, and
other decrepit rail infrastructure cause delays across the country every day. Last year, the Senate Appropriations Committee acknowledged that the Northeast Corridor alone has a state of good repair backlog of more than $28 billion in deferred projects.

In 2015, Congress passed the FAST Act, which included the Federal State Partnership for State of Good Repair program to fund state of good repair projects on publicly-owned or Amtrak-owned infrastructure, equipment,
and facilities. The law authorized the program at $82 million in FY2016, $140 million in FY2017, $175 million in FY2018, and $300 million in FYs 2019 and 2020.

To date, funds have not been appropriated. The year-end omnibus appropriations bill enacted in December 2015 did not fund FAST Act rail grant programs, and subsequent stopgap funding bills have maintained the omnibus
bill’s omission of these critical programs.

We acknowledge that the fiscal environment is tight. We know, however, that our nation’s existing rail infrastructure is in dire need of the investments promised in the FAST Act. We urge you to follow through on these
promises. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Jim Himes