Rep. Crawford Introduces Legislation to Require Amtrak to Aim to Make a Profit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sara Robertson (Sara.Robertson2@mail.house.gov)

Rep. Crawford Introduces Legislation to Require Amtrak to Aim to Make a Profit

3/25/2022

Washington  This week, Representative Rick Crawford (AR-01) introduced the Returning Amtrak to Economic Sustainability (RATES) Act along with six of his colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. 

Over the past few years, Congress has given billions of dollars to Amtrak in the name of COVID-19 relief. Most recently, the Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act (IIJA) allotted $66 billion over the next five years to railroads, with most of the money going directly to Amtrak. Despite significant investments by the taxpayers, Amtrak has never once had a profitable year and experienced historic losses of $1.67 billion in 2020 and $2 billion in 2021. 

In addition to the billions in funding, the IIJA nixed Amtrak’s obligation to be profitable, changing the company’s goals from making a profit and performing at a level that justifies public money to meeting the “intercity passenger rail needs of the U.S.” and developing a “modern” passenger rail system. The RATES Act reverses this change by mandating that Amtrak be an “economically sustainable” passenger rail system and requiring Amtrak to ensure “route profitability proportional to the Federal share of investment.” 

“In Congress, we are expected to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. If the federal government is allocating billions of dollars to a company that disproportionately serves coastal, metropolitan populations over rural America, at the very least we should require Amtrak to attempt to be economically sustainable. Concentrated expenses on failing urban transportation systems will only leave rural Americans further behind, investment in infrastructure should be widespread and meet the needs of all Americans,” said Rep. Crawford.

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