Garrett Introduces Amendment to Increase Funding to Rail Safety and Operations
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05) issued the following statement after he introduced an amendment to H.R. 2577, the Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Act. The amendment would have added nearly $17 million to the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Safety and Operations Account to protect the safety of passenger and freight railroads operating in our communities.
“Just this year we have seen two oil train derailments and over a dozen Amtrak-related accidents, including the tragic crash in Philadelphia that claimed eight lives and injured dozens more. It is our responsibility to ensure that New Jersey’s 2,400 miles of freight lines and 1,000 passenger rail miles are operating safely to protect both passengers and our communities.
“By reducing funding for new transit projects by just 4 percent, my amendment would have fully funded the safety and operations of our nation’s railroads and address the safety concerns of Americans who rely on rail lines without any spending increases. You wouldn’t put an addition on your house if the roof was caving in—so why are we prioritizing new transit projects before funding the safety of our existing lines? I am disappointed that the House ignored the call of our constituents by voting against this commonsense amendment.”
Rep. Garrett’s amendment would have reduced New Starts by just 4 percent and increased funding for FRA’s Safety and Operations Account by $16,930,000. This would have funded the safety of our rail infrastructure at President Obama’s requested levels. The amendment was voted down in the House and was not included in the final legislation. Rep. Garrett also supported an amendment by Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-05) to increase funding to the Safety and Operations account, which was ultimately voted down as well.