Amtrak gets $1.69 billion boost from feds in response to COVID-19

capitol train on rail

Amtrak will get more than $1.69 billion to provide relief from the impacts of COVID-19 to the company’s business operations, workforce and state funding partners, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced this week. The funding is provided under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. 

“This new assistance for Amtrak will get employees back to work and restore service on routes across the country, at a time when this help is urgently needed,” Buttigieg said.

Locally, the Capitol Corridor service will benefit with $13.4 million from the Federal Rescue Relief funds. The funding is awarded directly to Amtrak, thus reducing Capitol Corridor’s payment obligation for its contracted train and bus service, putting the intercity passenger rail service on a more solid financial footing, allowing it to be responsive to growing ridership demand.

The Capitol Corridor plans to increase service on June 7, along with a phased restoration of food and beverage service. Pre-pandemic passenger levels could be regained by 2022.

After experiencing its best year in 2019, Amtrak has faced an unprecedented decline in ridership since the start of the pandemic, which led the company to furlough employees and reduce service levels in response to revenue shortfalls.