The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) provided USD 1 billion federal funding for Amtrak in response to coronavirus which will support operator’s operations and business. The funding is being provided under the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“This USD 1 billion in federal emergency assistance to Amtrak will help maintain service for its passengers when the economy recovers,” said the Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, Amtrak has experienced an unprecedented decline of over 90% percent in ridership in recent weeks as well as a decline in future ticket purchases for the coming months and has pulled certain routes out of service.
The CARES Act funding will be used to offset the loss of ticket revenue, which is used to pay Amtrak’s employees, buy fuel for its operations and construction materials for its projects, and maintain Amtrak’s network of intercity passenger routes, including routes in rural areas that have seen total cancellation in service.
Under the funding programme, USD 492 million will be invested for the Northeast Corridor, and USD 526 million for the National Network Grants.
“This funding will help ensure that Amtrak is able to quickly return to service supporting both the public’s transport mobility needs, and America’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 public health emergency. We are committed to transparency and are requiring enhanced reporting from Amtrak to show how the CARES Act funding is being efficiently and effectively used to respond to present challenges,” FRA Administrator Ronald Batory said.
In addition, the Department of Transport will invest to help mitigate the cost impact on America’s 28 State-supported intercity passenger rail routes, where State governments would otherwise be required to make up ticket revenue shortfalls. At least USD 239 million of the funds provided will be used in lieu of any increase in States’ payments.