Posts Tagged ‘federal funding’

Amtrak Lost $801M in FY2020

November 24, 2020

Amtrak warned yet again on Monday that further service cuts are possible unless Congress increases its federal funding for the passenger carrier in fiscal year 2021.

Funding for Amtrak and other federally-funded programs is currently being provided under a continuing resolution approved by Congress in late September that expires on Dec. 11.

That resolution calls for interim funding in FY2021 to be at the same levels as FY2020, which ended on Sept. 30.

“If the current level of funding is extended in a continuing resolution beyond Dec. 11 . . . and supplemental funding isn’t provided we’re going to be unable to avoid taking fairly difficult actions that could have long-lasting effects on our Northeast Corridor infrastructure and the national rail system,” said Amtrak CEO William Flynn.

Flynn said the carrier needs additional emergency funding for the remainder of the fiscal year.

If Amtrak funding continues at its current levels, Flynn said as many as 1,600 workers operating state-supported trains could be furloughed.

Amtrak Senior Executive Vice President Stephen Gardner said decisions on job and service cuts will be made based on how long the uncertainty remains.

In a news release, Amtrak said during FY2020 its operating revenue, including payments from state-supported routes, decreased 31.9 percent to $2.3 billion when compared with FY 2019.

Ticket revenue was down $1.24 billion or 47.3 percent.

During FY2020 Amtrak posted an unaudited operating loss of $801.1 million, which it attributed largely to lost ridership during the pandemic.

The carrier also reported advancing $1.9 billion in infrastructure and fleet work.

Amtrak Board Chairman Anthony Coscia said the passenger carrier projects that under current trends and future projections, ridership and revenue are expected to be down 63 percent by the end of fiscal 2021.

That would be worse than the 50 percent decline Amtrak management had predicted earlier when it announced its plans to reduce the operating frequency of most long-distance trains to tri-weekly.

Coscia said Amtrak intends to move forward on $2 billion in critical infrastructure work “that includes safety and reliability measures that we believe will permit the company to come through the pandemic with a railroad that was playing and will play in the nation’s economic recovery.”

He said Amtrak has more than $5 billion of additional investments that could contribute to recovery following the pandemic.

Amtrak said it provided 16.8 million customer trips in FY 2020, down 47.4 percent with a year-over-year decline of 15.2 million riders.

In recent months, ridership has dipped by 20 to 25 percent of pre-COVID levels.

Deadline Extended for Short Line Loan Bids

June 26, 2020

The U.S. Department of Transportation has extended the deadline for submitting letters of interest in financing through the pilot Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Express loan program.

The deadline had been Aug. 15 but has been extended by 60 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The original deadline had been June 15.

Administered by the Build America Bureau, RRIF Express is a pilot program meant to increase access to RRIF loans for short line and regional railroads seeking financing for infrastructure projects.

The application process is designed to be less time consuming and cost prohibitive for small railroads.

Group Fighting Public Transit Infrastructure Funds Cuts

October 24, 2019

A coalition that included the American Public Transportation Association is seeking to fight off a proposed cut in federal funding for public transit infrastructure.

The funding cuts are included in the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

If enacted, the legislation would cut funding for public transportation by $457 million compared to the fiscal-year 2019 enacted levels and does not permanently block the impending $1.2 billion cut to transit formula funds in fiscal year 2020, APTA officials said in a news release.

APTA and its allies have called for the Senate to increase public transportation spending and permanently block the impending 12 percent cut to every public transit agency in the nation.

The coalition includes associations representing construction, manufacturing, workers, transportation agencies, state and local government officials, businesses and environmental organizations.

House Committee Boosts Transportation Funding

June 6, 2019

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that will increase funding for public transportation and passenger in fiscal year 2020 by $16.2 billion.

The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Related Agencies bill provides $137.1 billion in total funding for a $6 billion increase above the 2019 enacted level and $17.3 billion above President Trump’s budget request,

Among the transportation funding highlights of the bill are:

• $1 billion for national infrastructure investments under the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program, a $100 million increase above the 2019 enacted level and equal to the president’s budget request.

• $3 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), $96 million above the 2019 enacted level and $877 million above the president’s budget request.

• $350 million for Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair, $50 million below the 2019 enacted level. The president’s budget request proposed eliminating this program;

• $2 billion for Amtrak, $50 million above the 2019 enacted level and $1.1 billion above the president’s budget request.

• $700 million for Northeast Corridor Grants, $50 million above the 2019 enacted level and $375 million above the president’s budget request.

• $1.3 billion for National Network Grants, equal to the 2019 enacted level and $681 million above the president’s budget request.

• $13.5 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, $60 million above the 2019 enacted level and $1.1 billion above the president’s budget request.

• $2.3 billion for Capital Investment Grants, equal to the authorized level, $251 million below the 2019 enacted level, and $797 million above the president’s budget request.

• $750 million for Transit Infrastructure Grants, $50 million above the 2019 enacted level and $250 million above the president’s budget request.

The bill also prohibits the Federal Railroad Administration from seeking to recover funds already provided to the California high-speed rail project and allocates the federal funding share for the Gateway tunnel project on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between New York and New Jersey.

Trump Budget Slashes Amtrak Funding 45%

May 24, 2017

The Trump administration wants to slash Amtrak funding by 45 percent in fiscal year 2018.

The detailed budget proposed released this week proposed giving Amtrak $744 million.

In the current fiscal year, Amtrak received $1.4 billion. The cuts for next year include ending $289 for Amtrak’s long-distance train routes.

The budget document described long-distance trains as “a vestige of when train service was the only viable transcontinental transportation option. Today, communities are served by an expansive aviation, interstate highway, and intercity bus network.”

The document said Amtrak’s long-distance trains represent the greatest amount of Amtrak’s operating losses, serve relatively small populations, and have the worst on-time record.

The Trump administration would instead appropriate $1.5 billion for the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington.

[The Northeast Corridor] “faces many challenges, and the 2018 Budget proposal would allow Amtrak to right-size itself and more adequately focus on these pressing issues,” the budget document said.

Nonetheless, the Trump administration has proposed cutting funding for the development of New York’s Penn Station by 64 percent from $14 million to $5 million.

The Amtrak funding cuts make up the lion’s share of the 37 percent cut proposed by the Trump administration for the Federal Railroad Administration.

The agency’s parent organization, the U.S. Department of Transportation, would receive $16.2-billion in FY 2018, a decline of 12.7 percent over what it received in FY 2017.

The Federal Railroad Administration’s budget would drop by 37 percent from $1.7 billion to $1.05 billion while Federal Transit Administration will decline by 5 percent from its FY 2017 appropriation of $11.8 billion.

The FTA would receive $11.2 billion, which includes $9.7 billion for transit formula grants. The FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program for new starts would be cut by 43 percent from $2.16 billion to $1.2.

Funding would be continued only for programs that FTA is legally bound to support through full-funding grant agreements.

Funding for the Transportation Generating Economic Recovery grant program would be eliminated.

The budget document said projects that are attempting to receive TIGER funding could still earn grants through the Nationally Significant Freight and Highways Projects fund managed by DOT’s Build America Bureau.

The Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing and Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation programs would remain in place, but receive no additional funding.

The National Transportation Safety Board would receive $106 million, which is no change from FY 2017.

The Surface Transportation Board would receive a $5 million boost to $37 million in order to implement regulatory changes under the STB reauthorization law of 2015.

The Trump administration budget proposal is likely to undergo numerous changes as Congress considers federal funding priorities for FY 2018.