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American Rescue Plan of 2021 Includes Vital Rail Funding for Freights, Amtrak and RRB Upgrades

Published: Mar 11 2021 12:40PM

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday, includes significant victories for rail. Among the most notable are:

$30 billion for transit spending, which includes several rail projects;

$1.7 billion in funding for Amtrak;
Amtrak will restore daily service to 12 long distance routes starting in May and will also recall more than 1,200 furloughed employees;
$21 million for Railroad Retirement Board IT upgrades;
$6 million to RRB for additional field staff; 
Waiving the 7-day waiting period on Railroad Unemployment Insurance and Sick Benefits;
$300 per week of enhanced benefits for RUI;
Those RUI benefits extended out to Sept. 6, 2021 for out-of-work railroaders.  

“We’re very happy to have these longstanding and important measures included in this recovery legislation,” BMWED Director of Government Affairs Jeff Joines said. “Amtrak funding will provide our members continued work. The general transit funding will keep our transit rail members working. The RRB money, which has been sorely needed for years, and will mean a much quicker response time with benefit clams. We’re encouraged by this legislation and what it contains specifically for rail.”

President Joe Biden is expected to sign the relief act into law Friday.