Trains For America

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Sen. Dick Durbin proposes funding for more Amtrak rolling stock

According the Springfield’s State Journal-Register, Dick Durbin (the other senator from Illinois) has introduced legislation that would provide funding to improve Amtrak’s current cars and use 1/4 cent from the gas tax to create a fund for the company to buy new stock. Apparently these would be American built, as the bill also provides tax incentives for companies producing passenger train equipment to build facilities in the United States.

The bill proposes a package of financing options to bring Amtrak’s existing 1,500 passenger cars up to snuff and “lay the groundwork for the next generation of trains built in America,” he said.

Amtrak, which will receive federal subsidies of almost $1.4 billion in this fiscal year, uses another 140 or so passenger cars that are state-owned.

“We’re filling the cars we own, and we have to start expanding,” Durbin said. “We gave up production of train cars in this country years ago, and we need to re-establish that industry.”

I wasn’t able to find this piece of legislation on Open Congress or anything yet, but we’ll be checking around for more updates on this bill as time goes on. We all know that Amtrak’s limited equipment is in high-demand and under high-stress due to increased usage. This seems like a step in right direction to help rectify that situation.. although I’m not entirely sure that we can wait for American factories to start producing train stock again.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, , , , ,

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July 2008