Well, folks, here is the text of the bill. At 2,702 pages, it’s perfect, light beach reading. https://www.epw.senate.gov/public/_cach ... w21a09.pdf
I’m still combing through it. Here are some preliminary observations:
1. The section on rail starts on page 697 and is entitled “Passenger Rail Expansion and Rail Safety Act of 2021.”
2. Over the next five years, Amtrak will receive $6.5B to distribute as grants for the NEC and $12.6B to distribute as grants for the national network.
3. Current law states, “A greater degree of cooperation is necessary among Amtrak, other rail carriers, State, regional, and local governments, the private sector, labor organizations, and suppliers of services and equipment to Amtrak to achieve a performance level sufficient to justify expending public money.” That is changed to “A greater degree of cooperation is necessary among Amtrak, other rail carriers, State, regional, and local governments, the private sector, labor organizations, and suppliers of services and equipment in order to meet the intercity passenger rail needs of the United States
” (emphasis added). That strikes me as they see Amtrak as important now.
4. Upgrades for food and beverage must be studied, recommended, and implemented.
5. Ticket agents at every station with 40 or more daily passengers OR if they had an agent as of October 1, 2027, unless there is an agent from an adjoining commuter rail service.
6. Some amendments to PRIAA from 2008, although I’m not sure what they mean.
7. Study for daily long-distance study, including along discontinued routes.
8. Money for railroad R&D.
I’m not sure what it all means, and whether it’s all good or bad. I don’t see any specifically marked projects in here, but I guess that’s what the amendment process is for.