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Cantwell Applauds Senate Confirmation of Federal Railroad Administrator to Lead $66B Infrastructure Investments for Nation, Washington State

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today underscored the importance of having a strong leader at the helm of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to effectively and efficiently deploy the infrastructure investments and programs set forth in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Today, the Senate approved the nomination of Amit Bose to head the FRA by a vote of 68-29.

“In Washington state, people know how important a safe and efficient rail network is to supporting our trade-dependent economy and connecting rural communities,” said Sen. Cantwell. “The bipartisan infrastructure investment law gave the Federal Railroad Administration $66 billion to improve freight rail infrastructure and the intercity passenger rail network, including $3 billion for a program I authored to alleviate congestion and safety problems at grade crossings. With his confirmation, Amit Bose will now permanently head the FRA and make sure these programs are swiftly implemented.”

The Administrator will be responsible for implementing $66 billion in rail funding provided by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. That includes:

  • $3 billion for the new Cantwell-led highway-rail grade crossing elimination grant program, the first-ever dedicated grant program that local communities can access to address dangerous and costly at-grade crossing delays. The 50 most congested crossings in Washington are blocked for an average of two hours per day, with an average of 49 trains and 12,000 rail cars.
  • $5 billion for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program (CRISI) grants, which will help improve the efficiency of Washington’s 23 short-line railroads, a critical link connecting Washington agricultural products to markets overseas.
  • $12 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to expand the U.S. passenger rail network through multi-year planning and construction grants. This could support Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) efforts to expand the Amtrak Cascades service, construct a new East-West Intercity Passenger Rail System, or study future viable routes that could improve rail service in Eastern Washington.
  • $16 billion for Amtrak’s National Network to address the state of good repair backlog, including replacing Amtrak’s aging passenger cars used on the Empire Builder and Coast Starlight routes with safer and more comfortable cars. The bill also requires the Surface Transportation Board to hire additional staff to enforce Amtrak’s preference rights to ensure freight railroads allow Amtrak trains to run on time.

Bose was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee on October 20,2021.