Amtrak Gets $1B in Pandemic Aid

As expected the pandemic relief bill approved by Congress on Monday contains emergency aid for Amtrak and public transit.

News reports indicate the legislation allotted $14 billion for transit and $1 billion for Amtrak.

The measure also earmarked $2 billion for the private motorcoach, school bus and ferry industries; $10 billion for state highways; $15 billion for airline payroll support; $1 billion for airline contractor payrolls; and $2 billion for airports and airport concessionaires.

Lawmakers have said the funding is designed to “prevent furloughs, meet operating needs and keep [transit] systems running.”

The aid to Amtrak will allow it “to continue to provide existing service and prevent additional furloughs through March 31, 2021.”

It is not clear if the funding is sufficient to restore daily service to long-distance trains that have been operating tri-weekly since October.

The pandemic aid was part of a $1.4 trillion omnibus budget bill that will fund the federal government through the end of the current federal fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2021.

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