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June 5, 2020 12:30 PM, EDT

Senate Panel Seeks Input From Passenger Transportation Sector

Committee Invites Groups to Share Concerns on Virus' Impact
Amtrak train traveling over Portal Bridge in N.J.An Amtrak train passes over the Portal Bridge in New Jersey. (Amtrak)

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Stakeholders representing the passenger transportation sector were asked by the Senate Commerce Committee to share concerns about the impact from the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee recently met with freight stakeholders who called on policymakers to approve additional funding for infrastructure projects.

RELATED: ATA Chairman Randy Guillot Presses Congress for Infrastructure Funding

In a letter to several groups, Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Commerce Committee chairman and ranking member, respectively, wrote: “As our nation takes steps to recover from COVID-19, it is vital to protect the health and safety of the traveling public. Like other sectors of our economy, transportation services will need to adapt to face new realities. Resuming normal operations in a safe and responsible manner will require a thoughtful approach and willingness to explore new solutions.”

The senators continued, “The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation would welcome your feedback and additional information regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on our passenger transportation system and the industry’s response to these challenges.”

The groups included the American Bus Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the United Motorcoach Association, as well as Amtrak.

On the House side, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on June 9 is scheduled to meet with stakeholders to discuss the pandemic’s impact on their sectors.

Last month, the House passed emergency aid that would provide $15 billion for state highway agencies and slightly more than $15 billion for transit programs. The Senate has not voted on the bill.

During the pandemic, Congress has provided financial assistance to airlines, passenger rail, transit systems and industries across supply chains.

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