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US Railroad Amtrak Funding Cut Must Be Rejected - US Senator

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The Republican-controlled Congress must increase Amtrak funding to $1.4 billion instead of cutting funding in order to help improve the railroad system’s safety and infrastructure, US Senator Bob Casey said in a press release on Friday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Positive Train Control (PTC) is a system of requirements for monitoring and controlling train movements, and include train separation or collision avoidance, line speed enforcement and temporary speed restrictions.

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“The Senate Appropriations Committee funding level of $1.4 billion for Amtrak will allow Amtrak to continue to improve existing rail infrastructure and implement key safety programs like Positive Train Control,” Casey said in the release.

Calls for increasing Amtrak funding and implementing measures such as the PTC came after the May 12 Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia that killed eight and injured more than 200 passengers.

Emergency personnel work at the scene of a deadly train derailment, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Philadelphia - Sputnik International
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Despite the calls, the $270 million cutback was included in a House of Representatives funding bill passed on May 27, 2015, for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development that was approved earlier this month.

However, the Senate version of the bill would keep the $1.4 billion that the administration of President Barack Obama requested in its own budget proposal.

Casey said in a letter to Senate appropriators that the House's proposed Amtrak budget cut "would hinder infrastructure improvements on the Northeast corridor, which serves over 11 million passengers per year, and the Keystone Corridor, which serves over 1.4 million passengers a year.”

Derailment in the Frankfort section of Philadelphia - Sputnik International
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The Senate Appropriations Committee funding level would help improve the existing rail infrastructure, Casey argued.

"Amtrak rail service along these corridors is essential to the long-term economic competitiveness of the region and provides travelers with a reliable mode of transportation," he wrote.

On June 19, 2015, US Senators Roger Wicker and Cory Booker urged the US federal government to pursue $9 billion worth of funding for the Amtrak railroad to ensure travel safety and economic gains.

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