By Railfan & Railroad Staff
WASHINGTON — Daily long-distance Amtrak service will resume sometime in June following the passage of a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. On Saturday, the U.S. Senate passed President Joe Biden’s pandemic relief plan along party lines. The bill now goes back to the House, which will likely vote on it sometime this week, before the president signs it into law.
The legislation, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, includes funding for Amtrak and a prevision authored by U.S. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana that would require the railroad to resume daily long-distance passenger service within 90 days. Last fall, Amtrak reduced most long-distance services across the country to three days a week, including the Empire Builder in Montana. The service is particularly important for Montana’s remote Hi-Line region. The prevision also requires Amtrak to recall furloughed employees.
“Folks on the Hi-Line depend on Amtrak to stay connected, and its full return will boost the economy and create good-paying jobs across the region,” Tester said. “Returning Amtrak service to Northern Montana has been one of my top priorities since the service was cut, and I won’t stop fighting until this bill is signed into law by the President and the Empire Builder is fully restored.”