Happening Now

House Gives Passenger Rail a Boost in FY2020 Budget

May 24, 2019

Rail Passengers is providing tools for passengers to support this bill—and improve it. Please join us in taking action!

The House Appropriations Committee on Transportation and Housing has released its transportation budget for FY 2020, and the news is good for passengers, where our advocacy continues to produce incremental gains.

[Rail Passengers is providing tools for passengers to support this bill—and improve it! Please join us in taking action!]

Subcommittee members unanimously approved an increase in funding of $146 million for passenger rail and $60 million for transit compared to last year’s funding levels. While this isn’t the transformative infrastructure bill that is perpetually looming on the horizon, it’s another step in the right direction—and billions more than the horrible transportation budget proposed by the Trump Administration.

FY2019 Appropriated Levels

Rail Passengers Association FY2020 Request

White House FY2020 Budget Proposal

FAST Act FY2020 Authorized Levels

House THUD FY2020 Proposal


Amtrak - National Network






Amtrak - NEC






Consolidated Rail Infrastructure & Safety Grants






Federal State Partnership For State Of Good Repair






Restoration & Enhancement Grants












Transit Formula Grants






Capital Investment Grants












Total Transit






Key Policy Wins

In addition to funding levels, House Appropriators also included some positive policy riders that should aid in several key transit and rail projects:

  • California high-speed rail: the bill included language prohibiting the U.S. DOT from canceling previously approved grant agreements and clawing back funds; and requiring the agency to wait until recently-filed litigation between the State of California and the DOT is resolved redistributing any funds.
    • Also of note for California:the bill does not include any prohibitions on federal funding for the project, a mainstay of appropriations bills passed under the GOP-controlled House.
  • On Time (Funding) Performance:in response to U.S. DOT foot-dragging over certain rail and transit grant programs, appropriators included a trigger for automatic dispersement in the event of agency inaction. If funds for the transit grant program aren’t awarded to new projects by the end of 2021, the money will automatically flow to projects already in the engineering phase.
  • Maintaining the Federal Role: Responding to complaints from transit agencies that felt they were unfairly being forced to provide more local matching funds than the law required, the bill prohibits the U.S. DOT from using any appropriated funds to suggest or require grant applicants lower the federal project share below 50%. (For context, highways receive an 80/20 split between federal share and local match.)

Rail Passengers is providing tools for passengers to support this bill—and improve it! Please join us in taking action today.We need your help to move this bill through the House and Senate, and secure a better future for America’s passengers!