Passenger Rail

October 14, 2022 • Volume 32, Issue 35
Will new federal funding fuel a revival?
By Daniel C. Vock


A 2021 federal infrastructure law aims to expand intercity passenger rail service throughout the United States, half a century after the federal government became the main provider of this service. Amtrak, the company Congress created to offer passenger rail, has suffered from years of inadequate funding and political infighting over its fate. The 2021 infrastructure measure embodies a marked change in Congress’ approach to the issue. The law includes $66 billion to improve and expand passenger rail service between cities, reflecting a growing appetite among the U.S. public and politicians for quality train service. But the success of that effort is not guaranteed. It will require accommodations from freight rail companies, continued political support in Congress and the states and, of course, millions of paying customers who are willing to travel by train instead of by planes or cars.

Photo of Amtrak train exiting 149-year-old tunnel in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 10, 2021. (Getty Images/Drew Angerer)
An Amtrak train emerges from a 149-year-old tunnel in Baltimore. Amtrak could reap $66 billion to improve and expand passenger rail service from a trillion-dollar 2021 infrastructure law. But success has multiple hurdles and is not guaranteed. (Getty Images/Drew Angerer)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Oct. 14, 2022  Passenger Rail
May 01, 2009  High-Speed Trains Updated
Oct. 18, 2002  Future of Amtrak
Apr. 16, 1993  High-Speed Rail
Mar. 10, 1978  Future of American Railroads
Mar. 07, 1975  Railroad Reorganization
Jun. 20, 1973  Railroad Nationalization
Nov. 17, 1961  Railroad Subsidies
Aug. 24, 1960  Railroad Mergers
Jan. 01, 1958  Condition of the Railroads
Jan. 31, 1951  Railway Safety
Oct. 04, 1944  Railroad Freight Rates
Jun. 12, 1939  The Government and the Railroads
Apr. 21, 1938  Government Ownership of the Railroads
Dec. 07, 1937  Railroad Rates and Revenues
Jul. 17, 1937  Advances in Railway Passenger Service
Sep. 27, 1934  Railroad Rates And Federal Regulation of Transportation
Jan. 11, 1933  Railroad Receiverships and Reorganizations
Aug. 26, 1932  The Railroads and the Depression
Oct. 13, 1931  Wages of Railroad Labor
Jul. 09, 1931  Railroad Freight Rates
Feb. 14, 1931  The Railroad Consolidation Controversy
Sep. 19, 1927  The Problem of Railroad Valuation
Mar. 30, 1927  Railroad Consolidation and Prospective Legislation
Mar. 26, 1927  Principles of Railroad Consolidation
Mar. 08, 1926  Railway Labor Disputes Legislation
May 04, 1925  The Baltimore and Ohio Cooperation Plan
Sep. 12, 1924  National Railroad Consolidation and the Van Sweringen Merger
Aug. 14, 1924  Automatic Train Control in Relation to Railroad Casualties
May 28, 1924  The Condition of American Railroads
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