Smucker Announces Bipartisan Legislation to Invest in Rail Infrastructure

February 26, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) announced the introduction of H.R. 5947, Invest in American Railroads Act. The bipartisan legislation, which was introduced with Representatives Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) and Chris Pappas (D-NH), makes critical improvements to the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program (RRIF) and unleashes billions of new investment in passenger, short line and regional rail. 

“Passenger, short line and regional rail are critical components of our thriving economy in Pennsylvania’s 11th District. My community’s connection to passenger rail along the busy Northeast Corridor and a strong regional rail system has served as a magnet for business development, creating high-paying family-sustaining jobs across my district,” said Rep. Smucker. “Addressing America’s aging infrastructure is a bipartisan issue in Congress and I am pleased to join my colleagues Reps. Kuster and Pappas to work together to reform RRIF to provide billions of dollars in new investment in passenger and regional railroads. The reforms included in the Invest in American Railroads Act will ensure that existing grant programs and rail infrastructure programs are working to their fullest potential for the American taxpayer,” said Smucker.    

“Passenger and regional railroads are gamechangers for communities around the country, helping to spur economic competitiveness and keeping Americans from spending hours sitting in traffic,” said Rep. Kuster. “Through supporting investment in rail infrastructure, this bill is a win-win for working families and for our nation’s economy. I look forward to working with Rep. Smucker to advance this bipartisan legislation that will improve our transportation infrastructure.”

The RRIF program was created by Congress in 1998 to support the development of passenger and short line railroads by authorizing the Department of Transportation to issue funds to public or private entities for the purpose of rehabilitating or building new track, bridges, rail yards, and other support structures. However, the program is significantly underutilized. Since 2000, U.S. DOT has only made $8.2 billion in loans, less than 24% of the capacity authorized by Congress. The Invest in American Railroads Act will enable states, local governments and private groups to find RRIF a viable option to upgrade their existing rail infrastructure and develop new lines and rail facilities.