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 LoweyAppropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid Pelosi: Israel's Omar-Tlaib decision 'a sign of weakness' Lawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar 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 MulvaneyDick Cheney to attend fundraiser supporting Trump reelection: report Chris Wallace becomes Trump era's 'equal opportunity inquisitor' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid 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 TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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

Reps. Mike QuigleyMichael (Mike) Bruce QuigleyLawmakers point to entitlements when asked about deficits Mueller Day falls flat Mueller on Trump's WikiLeaks embrace: 'Problematic is an understatement' MORE (D-Ill.), David PriceDavid Eugene PriceRepublican lawmakers on why they haven't read Mueller report: 'Tedious' and 'what's the point?' Democrats advance more spending bills, defying Trump budget requests Ahead of infrastructure talks, House Democrats release 7B bill MORE (D-N.C.), Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkToni Morrison dies at 88 Former Virginia deputy AG: Trump's Twitter attacks a 'distraction' from 'substantive' critiques House Democrats inch toward majority support for impeachment MORE (D-Mass.) and Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarDemocratic leaders seek balance amid liberal push to go big on immigration Katherine Clark quietly eyes leadership ascent The Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck 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.