Transportation secretary announces $1B for Amtrak in response to COVID-19 pandemic
WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced on Friday, April 10 that the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is making over $1 billion available to the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) to support the railroad’s activities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States and its impacts on operations and business.
The funding is being provided under the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Amtrak has experienced an unprecedented decline of over ninety percent in ridership in recent weeks as well as a decline in future ticket purchases for the coming months, and has pulled certain routes out of service. The CARES Act funding will be used to offset the loss of ticket revenue, which is used to pay Amtrak’s employees, buy fuel for its operations and construction materials for its projects, and otherwise maintain Amtrak’s robust network of intercity passenger routes, including routes in rural areas that have seen total cancellation in service. Ticket revenues also fund track and infrastructure maintenance programs on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor which millions of Americans use to commute to their jobs every day.