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Bipartisan Rail Reform Bill Passes House

Washington, DC – Today, with bipartisan support, the House of Representatives passed the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act (PRRIA), a bill championed by former Mother Lode Republican Rep. Jeff Denham.

Denham, who chairs the Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee, co-introduced the bill with another Republican and two Democrats who serve as chair and ranking members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. It aims to improve rail infrastructure, reduce costs, leverage private sector resources, create greater accountability and transparency, and accelerate project delivery for Amtrak and the country’s passenger rail transportation system.

Also in the bill are provisions aimed at putting the skids on proposals such as the one submitted for the California’s high speed rail. Under PRRIA, rail grants that exceed $1 billion are required to secure a state match and include a usable segment of track, similar to Prop 1A, approved in 2008 by California voters. Rail grant applicants are also mandated to complete proposed projects achieve full capacity within 20 years or make a pro-rated pay back to the federal government.

“PRRIA will help modernize our passenger rail systems and make Amtrak run more like a business,” states Rep. Denham. “This is a good, bipartisan bill that for the first time authorizes Amtrak in a fiscally responsible manner while also saving American families time and money. Importantly for Californians, it prevents another disaster like California high speed rail from wasting taxpayer dollars. California’s high speed rail proposal no longer looks anything like what voters approved.”