Rep.: High Gas Prices Help Rail Travel

WASHINGTON — Higher gas prices and congestion on the nation’s highways are helping to make railroads a more viable travel alternative, a congresswoman says.

“Amtrak’s improved physical state and recent focus on customer service, along with increasing highway and airport congestion and rising gas prices, have made intercity passenger rail more popular and necessary than ever,” said Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.

Congress’ Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved a bill to reauthorize Amtrak and improve intercity passenger rail. HR 6003, the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, authorizes $14.4 billion for Amtrak capital and operating grants, state intercity passenger grants, and high-speed rail over the next five years.

“The American people deserve the best passenger rail system in the world, and I believe this Amtrak Reauthorization will go a long way to raise the United States to its rightful place as a world leader in passenger rail,” Brown said.