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Amtrak seeks another $5.4bn from US Congress to address Covid-19 impact

National Railroad Passenger Corporation, also known as Amtrak, has reportedly requested a further $5.4bn for the upcoming budget year starting 1 October 2021 from the US Congress to cover the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company seeks about $3.88bn for addressing its ‘base needs’ and providing relief from the effect of the pandemic, reported Reuters.

It also requested nearly $1.55bn in additional funding to execute Northeast Corridor infrastructure projects and develop new corridor lines in the US.

Since March 2020, Amtrak has received around $3.7bn as emergency funds.

In the year before the pandemic, Congress had granted the company nearly $2bn.

Moreover, the recent budget unveiled by the Biden administration called for $2.7bn for the company, representing a surge of 35% over pre-Covid levels.

For the renovation of the Northeast Corridor, spanning from Boston to Washington D.C., Amtrak is seeking $31bn from Congress over five years.

Of this total amount, Amtrak would require nearly $16bn for a sequence of projects in the New York City area named ‘Gateway’.

Aiming to annually serve 20 million additional commuters, Amtrak plans to include 39 new corridor routes across 166 cities by 2035.

In its letter to Congress, the company noted that railroad travel will help in removing the burden from highways.

Amtrak was quoted as saying by the news agency: “A timely investment in America’s mobility would provide far-reaching economic stimulus to help struggling local economies while creating jobs in the railroad, construction, and supporting industries that will result in growth across the country.”

President Joe Biden has already called for $80bn in new spending for the execution of high-speed rail projects.

The US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently provided more than $1.69bn in funding to Amtrak.

The financing has been offered under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Amtrak will use the funds to offset the loss of ticket revenue that it usually channelises to operate its trains and manage its infrastructure.

This article originally appeared on Railway Technology

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