Senator Cruz and Co. Surprise Again!
For context in reading the text below, Amtrak’s three business units include:
- Northeast Corridor (NEC) 457-miles Boston-Wash. D.C.
- Long-distance routes of greater than 750-miles
- Short-distance corridors of less than 750-miles
We learned this afternoon that U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Todd Young (R-IN), John Thune (R-SD), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Eric Schmitt (R-MO) have questioned U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg regarding a decision made by the Federal Railroad Administration to essentially earmark $7 billion in grants to the NEC over long-distance and short distance sectors:
“Rather than having one consistent set of criteria, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) decided to split the Fed-State program into projects on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and those projects off the NEC (i.e., the rest of the country). In doing so, the administration predetermined that the NEC would receive the absolute maximum percentage of the $36 billion for the Fed-State program made available by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act4 (hereinafter ‘the IIJA money’).”
As we have discussed, the geographic representation and funding disparity between the NEC and the rest of the system is a fundamental problem in U.S. passenger rail policy.
Recall the same U.S. Senators and U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) recently also criticized the Biden Administration for nominating only one Amtrak Board Nominee who resided outside of the NEC.