INVEST In America Act
On June 10th, after a 19-hour markup, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee advanced the INVEST in America Act. This is a five-year, $547 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill that follows the President’s vision laid out in the American Jobs Plan. The stated goal is to “invest in American workers and communities of all sizes, while tackling the climate crisis head-on.”
The reauthorization bill calls for $109 billion for transit and a combined $95 billion for passenger and freight rail. If passed this would represent a record level of funding for transit and passenger rail that exceeds even the initial amount in the American Jobs Plan.
We are excited by the continued commitment in DC to fund fast, frequent and affordable trains, and the strong support for funding electrified intercity rail and upgrades to commuter rail and transit around the country.
Included in the passenger rail funding is $32 billion for Amtrak, which is triple their current funding level. This would provide a much-needed reliable funding stream for Amtrak to make investments to renew and support service on the Northeast Corridor, the National Network and state-supported routes. Funding would also be provided through grant and loan programs that support corridor planning, passenger and freight safety, efficiency, electrification and the development of high-speed rail projects.
In addition to funding for intercity rail, the INVEST Act calls for a record investment of $109 billion in transit. This funding would go towards increasing routes, addressing the maintenance backlog and providing more frequent service. It also creates new programs to improve compliance with the ADA, provide expanded service in transit deserts and creates a new reduced-fare pilot program for low-income riders. It is also increasing funds for rural transit by more than 50 percent in the first year and doubles the set aside funds for urban areas formula dollars based on low-income population and directs transit agencies to serve these populations.
We are excited by the prospect of a large investment in transit and high-speed, regional and commuter rail.