Senators Wicker, Booker Unveil Railroad Reform, Amtrak Reauthorization

Bipartisan Proposal Could See Committee Vote Next Week

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., today introduced a bipartisan measure to improve passenger rail safety, reauthorize Amtrak services, and improve existing rail infrastructure. The bill, “Railroad Reform, Enhancement, and Efficiency Act,” could receive a vote by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee as early as next week.

“To help the United States compete globally, we must invest in a safe and reliable passenger rail system that Americans can depend on,” Booker said. “But too often our rail system falls short due to a lack of adequate infrastructure investment. Our bipartisan bill takes important steps to improve rail safety in the wake of last month’s tragic derailment, modernize our aging passenger rail network, and maximize investments in infrastructure through improved financing and grant programs. The legislation allows Amtrak to reinvest Northeast Corridor profits back into improving Northeast Corridor infrastructure, including throughout New Jersey. This will help advance critical but long overdue initiatives like building the Gateway Project which adds a new tunnel under the Hudson River and replacing the declining Portal Bridge. Senator Wicker has been a tremendous partner in moving this important bill forward.”

The Southern Rail Commission's Chairman Knox Ross voiced support on behalf of the Commission and vowed swift action should the bill pass.

"The Southern Rail Commission expresses gratitude for Senator Wicker’s contribution in crafting a bi-partisan bill supported by a Republican Senator from the deep south along with Democrat Senator Booker from the northeast. Immediately upon passage of this bill, the Southern Rail Commission is poised and ready to work with members of the working group on implementing service along the Gulf Coast corridor. Local support for restoring passenger rail service that was wiped out during Katrina has been demonstrated by 22 mayors, along with business and civic leaders from across the Gulf States."

Read the full release at Senator Wicker's website.