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October 21st, 2008
THE DIG
'Slow Train Coming': Rail safety bill

On October 16th, President Bush signed into law the rail safety and Amtrak bill.

The legislation provides roughly $13 billion for Amtrak and passenger-rail funding over five years, nearly double current spending levels. The bill also requires that passenger trains have positive train control systems to prevent collisions by 2015.

The bill was authored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who said, “When we provide rail service, people use it — as Amtrak’s record ridership shows. Instead of stifling Amtrak like the current Administration did, I look forward to working with the next President to keep investing in America’s passenger rail system.”

Two weeks before President Bush signed the bill into law, the Wall Street Journal took a close look at each candidate’s transportation policy. In 2009, the new President will work with the U.S. Congress on the passage of a six-year bill authorizing federal transportation spending. The federal transportation bill sets both funding targets and federal transportation policy, and is expected to be a turning point for new policies and funding allocations.

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