Kuster Legislation to Expand Passenger Rail Passes House
Today, the House passed H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, to improve America’s infrastructure. The final legislation included critical provisions from Rep. Annie Kuster’s (NH-02) bipartisan Invest in American Railroads Act, which will make it easier for New Hampshire to fund the Capitol Corridor Project to bring commuter rail to New Hampshire.
“In New Hampshire, commuter rail would be a gamechanger, helping to spur economic competitiveness and preventing Granite Staters from needlessly spending hours in traffic,” said Kuster. “I’m proud that the House passed legislation today that includes provisions from my Invest in American Railroads Act that would support efforts to expand commuter rail in the Granite State and across the country. The Moving Forward Act will ensure that our nation is adequately investing in our infrastructure to build a smarter, safer, and more resilient America. This legislation will make critical improvements to our health care system, broadband access, and more. I will continue working to secure funding to expand commuter rail and upgrade our infrastructure in the Granite State.”
"The Invest in American Railroads Act and Congresswoman Kuster's work on it, is to be applauded," said Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess. "Rail is an important investment for our country, for New Hampshire and Nashua is committed to this investment, with our ongoing work on the Capitol Corridor Project. Thank you Congresswoman Kuster for spearheading this important lifeline for our economy and infrastructure."
The Moving Forward Act:
- Invests $1.5 trillion to improve infrastructure nationwide and provides more than $300 billion to repair American roads and bridges
- Provides $130 billion in funding to help rebuild high-poverty schools across the country.
- Grants $100 billion in funding for the construction of affordable housing, creating 1.8 million affordable homes for low-income Americans
- Invests $70 billion to improve existing public housing
- Provides $100 billion in funding to support the development of broadband infrastructure, focusing on investments in unserved and underserved rural communities.
- Keeps American’s drinking water safe by investing $25 billion in programs to ensure communities nationwide have clean drinking water
- Lays a framework for our clean energy future by investing $70 billion in renewable energy, electric vehicle infrastructure, and modernizing our electric grid.
- Improves our health care infrastructure by investing $30 billion to improve hospitals, community health centers, and other essential health care infrastructure.
H.R. 2 includes multiple provisions from Kuster’s Invest in American Railroads Act, including funding to cover the credit risk premiums for loans through the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program. The $650 million provided by this bill will eliminate a key barrier for New Hampshire using this program to build the Capitol Corridor project. The legislation also makes clear that RRIF loans count as non-federal funds for Capital Investment Grants (CIG). In 1998 Congress created the RRIF program by authorizing the Department of Transportation (DOT) to make up to $35 billion in loans to develop commuter, passenger, and freight railroads. Due to the credit risk premiums and lack of clarity about whether these funds could be paired with CIG funding, this program has been severely underutilized and DOT has made less than $7 billion in loans.