House members push for 'robust' rail funding

House members push for 'robust' rail funding
© WTVD-11

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers from Illinois is calling for Congress to include a "robust" amount of funding for passenger rail in a funding bill for the Department of Transportation. 

Lawmakers are considering a measure that contains funding for the 2016 fiscal year for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. 

A group of 11 Democrats and one Republican Illinois lawmaker said the measure should "fully fund" rail programs that included in the transportation and housing measure, which is known in Washington as THUD. 


"Given the impact of passenger rail and transit to Illinois, we the undersigned members of the Illinois Congressional delegation write to request your support for vitally important transit and passenger rail investments by fully funding mass transit, Amtrak and Intercity Rail Capital Assistance Programs in the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to House Transportation and Housing and Urban Development subcommittee chairman Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.). 

"National passenger rail and transit systems are part of our national transportation network that are critical for competing in the 21st century economy, generating jobs and fostering urban and rural community growth," the lawmakers continued. "The importance of passenger rail and transit to the state of Illinois and the region generally cannot be overstated." 

The push for more rail funding comes weeks after lawmakers in the Republican-led House passed a passenger rail bill that authorized $7.8 billion for Amtrak.

Several of the Illinois lawmakers have also filed a bill to spend $1 billion over the next five years on boosting the safety of U.S. commuter railways after a recent string of accidents. 

The lawmakers who signed the letter Monday said it was important to have as much rail funding as possible. 

"Without robust federal funding of transit and passenger rail in the FY 2016 THUD appropriations bill, Illinois transportation systems will be subject to deteriorating roadbeds and equipment, bad on-time performance, increased traffic congestion, loss of ridership and American jobs," the lawmakers wrote. 

"For all of these reasons, we urge your support in fully funding for mass transit, Amtrak and Intercity Rail Capital Assistance Programs in the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016," the letter continued. "We look forward to continuing to work with you to expand and improve access to public transit and passenger rail not only in Illinois but in communities throughout the nation." 

The letter is signed by Reps. Mike QuigleyMichael (Mike) Bruce QuigleyHillicon Valley: Pompeo floats TikTok ban | Civil rights groups slam Facebook after call | Election security funding included in proposal House Democrats include 0M for election security in annual appropriations bill Democrats accuse SBA of stonewalling GAO's attempts to oversee lending program MORE (D-Ill.), Bobby RushBobby Lee RushFauci: Institutional racism playing role in disproportionate coronavirus impact on Black community Bobby Rush likens Chicago police union to KKK: 'Racist body of criminal lawlessness' Rep. Bobby Rush says Chicago officers lounged in his office as nearby stores were looted MORE (D-Ill.), Danny DavisDaniel (Danny) K. DavisDemocrats urge Treasury to assist Social Security recipients who miss key coronavirus payment deadline Democrats urge administration to automatically issue coronavirus checks to more people Illinois governor endorses Biden one day before primary MORE (D-Ill.), Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthTucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Tammy Duckworth hits back at Tucker Carlson: 'Walk a mile in my legs' The Hill's Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Reid Wilson says political winners are governors who listened to scientists and public health experts; 12 states record new highs for seven-day case averages MORE (D-Ill.), Robin KellyRobin Lynne KellyBlack Caucus unveils next steps to combat racism Democrats blast CDC report on minorities and COVID-19 Harris pushes for task force addressing racial disparities in coronavirus pandemic MORE (D-Ill.), Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosKaren Bass's star rises after leading police reform push GOP pulls support from California House candidate over 'unacceptable' social media posts Republican flips House seat in California special election MORE (D-Ill.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Bill FosterGeorge (Bill) William FosterFormer Obama Ebola czar Ron Klain says White House's bad decisions have put US behind many other nations on COVID-19; Fears of virus reemergence intensify Overnight Defense: Army now willing to rename bases named after Confederates | Dems demand answers on 'unfathomable' nuke testing discussions | Pentagon confirms death of north African al Qaeda leader Top Democrats demand answers on Trump administration's 'unfathomable' consideration of nuclear testing MORE (D-Ill.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyDingell pushes provision to curtail drunk driving in House infrastructure package 189 House Democrats urge Israel to 'reconsider' annexation Partisan divide on annexation complicates US-Israel relationship MORE (D-Ill.) and Robert Dold (R-Ill.).