Amtrak: $1.45B Senate appropriation 'workable'

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Congress is expected to conduct debate this summer on the law that authorizes the spending on Amtrak and other U.S. railways, the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA). The current version of the PRIIA, which was enacted in 2008, is scheduled to expire in September.

A House committee is scheduled to hold a hearing about passing a new version of the rail funding law on Wednesday.

Amtrak's Boardman said on Tuesday that it was important to continue the federal government's investment in the rail company.

"Even at this funding level, however, there is a significant amount of critical backlog infrastructure work that will not get done," Boardman said. "In order for the nation's intercity passenger rail system to reach its full potential, Amtrak will need higher and sustained levels of federal capital funding."

Since its inception in 1971, Amtrak has received approximately $1 billion per year from the federal government.

The company's 2013 appropriation included $443 million in operations subsidies and $905 million for capital improvements and debt service. The result was Amtrak receiving a combined $1.348 billion after the automatic across-the-board federal spending cuts known as the sequester.