Hours after the House of Representatives sent a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package with emergency funds for intercity rail and transit to the president’s desk, Amtrak announced that it will restore 12 long-distance routes to daily service between May 24th and June 7. Daily service on the Texas Eagle will resume on May 24th.
The American Rescue Plan Act also provides $30.5 billion in critical COVID-19 emergency funding to help public transit agencies continue to provide a lifeline to essential workers, ensure Americans can get to vaccine distribution sites, and advance communities’ efforts across the country to rebuild the nation’s economy. “Given the urgent and immense needs of our industry, the American Public Transportation Association applauds enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021,” said Paul P. Skoutelas, president and CEO. “The $30.5 billion in emergency assistance demonstrates a clear and continued commitment to public transportation and the important role it plays in America’s economic recovery.”
The bill includes $1.7 billion in emergency funding for Amtrak, paired with congressional mandates that Amtrak return daily service to long-distance routes within 90 days of passage and bring back railroad workers furloughed due to the pandemic. Rail Passengers Association said, in a news release, that their "staff, council and members fought hard for these inclusions. Not just the emergency funding, needed to stabilize service on the National Network and the Northeast Corridor, but also the requirements to restore service and workers as soon as possible."
“This is a real win for America's passengers and for the hundreds of communities served by Amtrak's long-distance trains, communities which suffered economic pain when they lost their service last summer,” said Jim Mathews, President & CEO of Rail Passengers Association. “We extend our thanks to the many champions of passenger rail in Congress who helped make this happen. We worked tirelessly with executive agencies, congressional leaders and, yes, Amtrak itself, to create urgency around the need to restore daily service just as soon as possible. Whether in testimony before House lawmakers or in private meetings with congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle, this Association worked overtime to create the preconditions Amtrak needed to restore services and recall its workforce.
“With large numbers of Americans vaccinated in time for the summer travel season, restoration of this service will be a boon for hundreds of suffering communities,” continued Mathews. “Passenger rail has always been an economic engine in the communities it serves, and now it will be an important tool for economic recovery. Our members are looking forward to a great summer!”
Daily travel is already live in the Amtrak reservation system, so you can begin booking your travel immediately.