House passes Amtrak bill that could boost Northeast service

The House has passed a bill that could boost Amtrak service in the popular Northeast Corridor while giving states more authority over the routes they help subsidize.

The bill was approved Wednesday by a vote of 316 to 101. It authorizes $7.2 billion over the next four years, keeping Amtrak subsidies nearly the same as current spending levels. Amtrak supporters had urged an increase in funds to address a backlog of infrastructure projects.

But the bill also allows Amtrak to use profits from its Northeast corridor service between Boston and Washington to make improvements that could speed up trains and enhance service in the corridor. Amtrak officials have long complained that they’ve had to use Northeast corridor profits to subsidize unprofitable, long-distance routes.

Senate approval is still required.

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