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Federal Railroad Administration. High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program. March 14, 2011. A bold vision for passenger rail. Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail. –President Barack Obama, January 25, 2011.

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High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program

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Federal Railroad Administration

High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program

March 14, 2011

A bold vision for passenger rail

Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail.

–President Barack Obama, January 25, 2011

We cannot compromise. The rest of the world is not compromising… [high-speed rail] means America laying track for a better future.

–Vice President Joe Biden, February 8, 2011

Key changes to passenger rail programs

  • Strong focus on developing “world-class” high-speed rail (125-250+ mph)

  • Opportunities for private sector participation and greater competition

  • Investment in Northeast Corridor and in rail station accessibility by bringing all stations into ADA compliance

  • Upfront investment in replacing aging equipment that will increase reliability, boost domestic manufacturing and create jobs

    • Better and more comprehensive administration by consolidation and integration of previously-disconnected passenger rail programs

    • Realigns Amtrak budget according to business lines (State corridors, Northeast Corridor, long-distance routes), thus increasing the transparency of Amtrak’s federal funding

6-year program investment relatively modest versus our competitors

*Average annual Federal/national expenditures or proposed expenditures for the given program years.

** Percent of GDP based on average annual Federal/national investment compared to that country’s annual GDP in first year of the period shown. GDP figures used are: 2012 projected U.S. GDP, as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office (U.S. HSR System), 1963 U.S. GDP (U.S. Interstate System), 2009 Spain GDP (Spain HSR), and 2010 China official exchange rate GDP (China HSR).

FY 2012 budget proposal for passenger rail programs – Crosswalk from FY10

*Activities previously funded under this line item are now included in other Network Development and System Preservation & Renewal account activities.

FY 2012 budget – summary of investments by activity

Northeast Corridor

State-of-Good Repair

$834M | 10%

Other Activities

(e.g., capacity-building, Amtrak legacy debt)

$658M | 8%

Equipment Overhaul

& Replacement

$1,208M | 15%


$1,184M | 15%

National Network Service (e.g., congestion grants, long-distance capital and operations)

$785M | 10%

High-Speed Rail

Infrastructure & Stations

$3,377M | 42%

Total FY12



What passenger rail programs are proposed?

*Activities previously funded under this line item are now included in other Network Development and System Preservation & Renewal account activities.

High-Speed Corridor Development – $3,137M & Station Development –$240M

OBJECTIVE: To build a three-tiered national network of passenger rail corridors and link the system to communities by building modern intermodal stations connected to transit and other modes.

Core Express – Connect large urban areas up to 500 miles apart within 2-3 hours on electrified, dedicated track (125-250+ mph)

Regional – Connect mid-sized urban areas up to 500 miles apart with service on dedicated and shared track (90-125mph)

Emerging – Connect smaller communities with service on shared track (up to 90mph)

Station Development – Connect the passenger rail system to communities by building intermodal stations linked to transit and other modes

U.S. Rail Equipment Development – $245M

OBJECTIVE:To make a substantial and coordinated investment in passenger rail rolling stock to lower costs, promote interoperability, stimulate manufacturing, and compete globally

  • Lower costs of passenger rail rolling stock by achieving economies of scale

  • Encourage the domestic rail manufacturing industry by increasing confidence to invest and expand

  • Facilitate standardization and interoperability by developing design standards and prototypes

  • Encourage a robust secondary market by maintaining standardized equipment in a state of good repair

  • Increase responsiveness to demand fluctuations by enabling equipment leases






Capacity-Building and Transition Assistance – $378M


Transition Assistance

  • OBJECTIVE: To help build professional expertise and institutional capacity in the field of rail transportation

  • Capital assistance for:

    • Technical assistance and training programs

    • R&D to speed innovation

  • Available to government and private entities

  • OBJECTIVE: To encourage the success of existing State-supported passenger rail operations and new corridor operations

  • Operating assistance for:

    • Implementing PRIIA §209, State-supported routes

    • Start-up phase of new corridors

  • Available to States and service operators

What passenger rail programs are proposed?

*Activities previously funded under this line item are now included in other Network Development and System Preservation & Renewal account activities.

Public Asset Backlog Retirement – $2,982M

OBJECTIVE: To work towards eliminating the backlog of deferred maintenance on the Northeast Corridor and other publicly owned rail assets; to complete ADA accessibility to passenger rail stations; and to replace passenger rail rolling stock

Backlog retirement – Corrects years of underinvestment by accelerating the reduction of backlog projects on the Northeast Corridor.

ADA compliance – Completes rail station accessibility projects by 2015.

Rolling stock replacement – Supports major, multi-year investment in replacement of state corridor service train equipment.

National Network Service – $914M

OBJECTIVE: To provide operating and capital financial assistance to Amtrak to support national-priority long-distance route service, and to support national backbone passenger rail systems

Realigns Amtrak funding – Increases budget transparency by separating long-distance route business line from state corridors and Northeast Corridor business lines.

Capital and operating – Supportfor Amtrak’s network of long-distance routes.

National “backbone” assets– Supports capital assets such as reservations, security, training, maintenance and mechanical systems and facilities.

Rail congestion grants– Funds removal of key bottlenecks from priority locations on privately owned rail corridors.

State of Good Repair & Recapitalization – $150M

OBJECTIVE: To ensure public assets function as designed to provide safe and reliable passenger rail service and replacing those assets at the end of their useful life

State of Good Repair – “A condition in which the existing physical assets… are functioning as designed within their useful lives and are sustained through regular maintenance and replacement programs.”

Life-cycle costs – Funding is allocated as an annual share of the total cost over the infrastructure or fleet’s entire useful life.

Expanding role over time – Assets from completed Network Development projects will become eligible for SGR&R funding once entering revenue service.

Amtrak funding in the FY 2012 proposal

  • Amtrak’s legacy capital and debt service activities will continue to be direct grants to Amtrak in FY 2012.

  • The operating grant will be split into a $459M direct grant to Amtrak for long-distance routes, and a $200M grant directed to States to support PRIIA Sec. 209 transition.

  • This proposal fully funds the services Amtrak currently provides through direct grant funding, while also positioning Amtrak to play a vital role in the implementation of the National High Performance Rail System.

Budget Alignment Along Business Lines

Long-distance routes – Provides direct operating and capital grants to continue national network services.

State corridors – Proposes temporary operating assistance to States to facilitate PRIIA Sec. 209 implementation, which allocates the costs of these corridors to States.

Northeast Corridor – NEC operating surpluses are reinvested in NEC capital needs.

Crosswalk from FY 2010 Passenger Rail Programs to FY 2012

A comprehensive approach to winning the future




National High Performance Rail System





We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.

–President Barack Obama, January 25, 2011

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