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Kuster Legislation to Expand Passenger Rail Passes House

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Washington, DC, July 8, 2020

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 legislation 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 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. In 1998 Congress created the RRIF program by authorizing the Department of Transportation 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.