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 LoweyOval Office clash ups chances of shutdown Overnight Defense: Trump, Dem leaders fight before cameras over border wall | GOP skeptical of having military build wall | US spars with Russia, Venezuela over bomber deployment Trump, Democrats battle over wall in Oval Office spat 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 MulvaneyOn The Money: House GOP struggles to get votes for B in wall funds | Fallout from Oval Office clash | Dems say shutdown would affect 800K workers | House passes 7 billion farm bill Conservative leader Meadows will not be White House chief of staff Consumer bureau morale plummeted under Mulvaney: 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 TrumpActivists highlight Trump ties to foreign autocrats in hotel light display Jose Canseco pitches Trump for chief of staff: ‘Worried about you looking more like a Twinkie everyday’ Dershowitz: Mueller's report will contain 'sins' but no 'impeachable offense' 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 QuigleyDem: 'Disheartening' that Republicans who 'stepped up' to defend Mueller are leaving Dem rep on Trump 'Adam Schitt' tweet: 'I feel like I'm back in seventh grade' Dems vow swift action on gun reform next year MORE (D-Ill.), David PriceDavid Eugene PriceImmigrant who sought refuge in NC church denied request to stay in US: lawmakers 27 church members singing 'Amazing Grace' arrested after blocking ICE van Undocumented man arrested after leaving church to meet with immigration authorities MORE (D-N.C.), Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkHispanic Caucus picks Castro as its next chair Progressive rep says she’s ‘very disappointed' by Barbara Lee’s loss in bid for Dem caucus chair Clark wins spot as Dem Caucus vice chair MORE (D-Mass.) and Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarHispanic Caucus picks Castro as its next chair Progressive rep says she’s ‘very disappointed' by Barbara Lee’s loss in bid for Dem caucus chair Clark wins spot as Dem Caucus vice chair 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.