Transportation sends $1B in emergency assistance to Amtrak

Transportation sends $1B in emergency assistance to Amtrak
© Greg Nash

More than $1 billion will be sent to Amtrak to support the railroad system during the coronavirus pandemic, Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine ChaoThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden on COVID-19: Next year Americans will be 'better off' Buttigieg sets goals for electric, automated freight vehicles Ben Carson launches conservative think tank MORE announced on Friday.

The aid will come from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, a $2.2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress in March. 

“This $1 billion in federal emergency assistance to Amtrak will help maintain service for its passengers when the economy recovers,” Chao said in a statement.

Amtrak’s ridership has decreased by 90 percent and the system has been continuing operations with reduced routes. The Acela Express train in the Northeast has been temporarily cut, as well as half of Amrak's other routes.

A total of $1.02 billion will be used to offset the loss of ticket revenue to pay Amtrak’s employees, buy fuel and buy construction materials for projects. The Northeast Corridor will receive $492,000,000, and $526,000,000 will go to National Network Grants.

At least $239 million in funds will help the 28 state-supported intercity passenger rail routes so states don’t have to make up for ticket revenue loses, according to the Transportation Department.