March 27, 2020 - -

The U.S. House voted to send the CARES Act to the president’s desk this afternoon, enacting a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package into law and providing critically needed financial assistance to rail and transit operators across the country. The bill (H.R. 748) provides Amtrak over $1 billion in aid to weather the precipitous drop in ridership, and directs $25 billion to the nation’s struggling transit providers—the largest single-year transit appropriation in U.S. history.

“I want to thank the members of Congress who supported this aid package for rail transportation on behalf of the more than 40 million passengers in the U.S. who depend on passenger rail to work and travel—whether it’s intercity, commuter, or transit,” said Rail Passengers President & CEO Jim Mathews. “While addressing the health crisis will always be the most important part of our response, it’s important that we all understand the gravity of the current moment for our nation’s infrastructure. If we want these services to be there when we start traveling and commuting normally, then the time to act is now.”

[We need your help to say “THANK YOU” to Congress for keeping America’s trains going! Please join us next week in delivering our message to your members of Congress. Find out more at]

The funding directed by Congress to intercity rail operators and transit agencies in Phase 3 legislation meets or exceeds the levels outlined in the Rail Passengers’ COVID19 request. This financial aid includes:

Amtrak Grants - $1.018 billion

Northeast Corridor - $492 million;

National Network - $526 million;

State Supported Corridors: $239 million

Mass Transit Grants - $25 billion

Urban Area - 13.9 billion

Rural Area - $1.8 billion

State of Good Repair - $7.6 billion

Fast-Growth & High-Density State - $1.7 billion

We’re actively tracking any additional needs at, and will continue to work with Congress to ensure that these systems are able to return to full service once travel restrictions are eventually eased.

The CARES Act directs $31.3 million to the U.S. Department Transportation including the FTA and Federal Railroad Administration. Those funds will  support activities for preventing, preparing for and responding to COVID-19.