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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis June 28, 2013
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BREAKING NEWS
APTA Calls for Rail Funding at House Hearing

APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy called for a federal authorization of $50 billion over six years for high-speed and intercity passenger rail when he testified June 27 before the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“We know this committee recognizes the importance of transportation investment to the nation’s economic competitiveness and prosperity, Melaniphy said. “Expansion and improvement of our current intercity passenger rail system will require a commitment of federal, state, local, and private resources—a combination of funding and financing strategies that will not only pay for projects, but also speed their planning, design, and construction.”

During his testimony, Melaniphy stressed the importance of investing in “an integrated network of passenger rail services”—including high-speed rail, intercity rail, commuter rail, public transit, and intermodal connections—as the U.S. population grows by almost 150 million by 2050.

“We recognize the current fiscal pressures that the nation faces,” he said, “and the challenges that creates for Congress in providing financial resources and setting priorities within the federal budget.  However, we believe that investments in infrastructure, including passenger rail, are among the highest-value investments the nation can make.  These investments will provide benefits to the nation for the next hundred years.”

Melaniphy also addressed issues surrounding the implementation of positive train control by commuter railroads.

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) chairs the subcommittee. Others who testified were FRA Administrator Joseph C. Szabo; Edward Hamberger, president and chief executive officer, Association of American Railroads; Mike Lewis, director, Rhode Island DOT, testifying on behalf of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials; and John P. Tolman, vice president and national legislative representative, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

 

Photo by Steve Barrett
Testifying at the subcommittee hearing, from left: Joseph C. Szabo, Michael Melaniphy, Edward Hamberger, Mike Lewis, and John P. Tolman.
 

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