House Dems urge Trump to fully fund Amtrak partners

House Dems urge Trump to fully fund Amtrak partners

House Democrats on Thursday urged the Trump administration to provide Amtrak’s partners with full funding in next year’s budget, arguing railroads need to enact a key train safety feature.

Rep. Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyWomen poised to take charge in Dem majority Trump faces long odds in avoiding big spending bill House panel advances homeland security bill with billion in border wall funding MORE (D-N.Y.), the House Appropriations Committee ranking member, and several other Democrats in a letter to White House budget chief Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneySunday shows preview: Trump stokes intel feud over clearances Pentagon, GOP breathe sign of relief after Trump cancels parade Middle-class Americans can't afford another trillion financial crash MORE said they are “extremely concerned” about the two deadly Amtrak accidents that took place just days apart.

"As you work with President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller MORE to finalize the Administration's Fiscal Year 2019 budget request, we urge you to fully fund Amtrak's National Network request, including funds for infrastructure to facilitate host railroad Positive Train Control,” the House members wrote in the letter.

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“Without this funding, passengers and commerce traveling by rail will continue to be at risk.”

Reps. Mike QuigleyMichael (Mike) Bruce QuigleyCongress must not ignore the ‘flashing red light’ on election security Midwife: Lack of diversity in profession hurts pregnant women of color Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia MORE (D-Ill.), David PriceDavid Eugene PriceHouse panel advances homeland security bill with billion in border wall funding House panel pushes back against Trump asylum rule on domestic, gang violence DNC chair backing plan to cut superdelegates opposed by Dem lawmakers MORE (D-N.C.), Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkThe farm bill gives Congress a chance to act on the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act Michigan lawmaker wants seat for Midwest at Dem leadership table Michigan Dem mulls leadership bid in House MORE (D-Mass.) and Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarHouse panel moves to bar deportation of military 'Dreamers' Immigration compromise underlines right’s clout Pelosi, Dems hammer GOP for ‘derailing’ DACA debate MORE (D-Calif.) also signed the letter, which says the Amtrak National Network’s routes must implement Positive Train Control (PTC), which automatically decreases the speed of a train traveling over the limit.

Railroads have until at least Dec. 31, 2018, to enact the costly safety feature, which moved into the spotlight due to recent Amtrak accidents.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that PTC could have slowed down a speeding train that derailed in Washington state late last year, while the safety board’s chairman said the feature could have prevented a Sunday collision in South Carolina that left two Amtrak employees dead. The safety agency is also investigating another crash that occurred last week, in which an Amtrak train carrying GOP lawmakers to their annual retreat collided with a truck in Virginia, killing one of the vehicle's passengers.

The request comes as lawmakers prepare to vote on a two-year budget deal that includes $20 billion for “existing” infrastructure projects, on top of almost $90 billion in disaster relief for regions ravaged by last year’s hurricanes.

White House policy adviser D.J. Gribbin last month indicated the administration may “repurpose” funds from some transit programs like Amtrak to generate revenue for its infrastructure package, according to reports. But that option is bound to face an uphill battle in Congress.

After several delays, the Trump administration said it will unveil its long-awaited proposal to overhaul U.S. bridges, roads, airports and other public works on Monday, the same day the administration plans to release its spending blueprint for fiscal 2019.