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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 LoweyHouse Dems urge Trump to fully fund Amtrak partners A pro-science approach to Yucca Mountain appropriations Blue-state Republicans push tax law changes 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 MulvaneyPoll: Majority disapproves of Trump's military parade plan Mulvaney travels to Middle East: report Pentagon concerns mounting about Trump’s proposed parade: report 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 TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA 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 QuigleyQuestions swirl over whether House Intel will enforce Bannon subpoena House Dems urge Trump to fully fund Amtrak partners Furor grows over Nunes intel memo MORE (D-Ill.), David PriceDavid Eugene PriceHouse Dems urge Trump to fully fund Amtrak partners Senate nears two-year deal on spending House passes stopgap spending measure with defense money MORE (D-N.C.), Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkHouse Dems urge Trump to fully fund Amtrak partners Dems vow to repeal parts of GOP tax law Five things to watch for in Trump’s State of the Union MORE (D-Mass.) and Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarProgressive group targets GOP moderates on immigration Trump’s vanity wall is biggest obstacle to protecting Dreamers Texas GOP lawmaker: Trump wall 'expensive and least effective’ security plan 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.