Senator Murray has been a leading advocate for maintaining and improving passenger rail service in America. She has opposed attempts to eliminate funding for Amtrak and force a shut down or reduce its service, and has lead several successful efforts in Congress to restore its funding. In addition to increasing ridership and promoting rail as an alternative to automobiles, Senator Murray is committed to ensuring our railways are safe and rail infrastructure is well-maintained.

Throughout her Senate career, Senator Murray has been a strong supporter of Amtrak and improving its services throughout the nation. As Chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Appropriation Subcommittee, Senator Murray provides Amtrak funding and has continually fought for increased investment in its rail systems, despite efforts by some in Congress to make budget cuts which would push Amtrak into bankruptcy. In addition, Senator Murray has fought for Washington State, which has provided substantial subsidies for its Amtrak services. Senator Murray has also closely monitored Amtrak’s finances to ensure Amtrak’s solvency and investment needs are being considered when making funding decisions. She will continue her work to support this vital transportation system and its services throughout the country.      

In fiscal year 2007, Amtrak’s ridership increased by more than 1.5 million individuals compared to the previous year and it set a new record for total ridership. In addition, Amtrak Cascades, which serves Eugene, OR-Seattle-Vancouver, B.C., has seen ridership grow by 30 percent over the last decade. As fuel prices remain high, Senator Murray is dedicated to ensuring passenger rail service in the Pacific Northwest remains a transportation option for both rural and urban areas.

Murray firmly believes the federal government must be a strong partner to state and local governments in their shared goal to improve rail systems and increase ridership. In fiscal year 2008, she included $100 million in the Senate Transportation Appropriations bill for a new grant program that would match state contributions for intercity passenger rail operations and infrastructure investment.

In the fiscal year 2008 Senate Transportation Appropriations bill, Senator Murray fought to include $187.4 million for national railroad safety inspection and enforcement efforts, including $3 million in funding to improve the safety of rail operations.