U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced the release of an Amtrak report on developing passenger rail service in the Bakken Region.
This report was required by language drafted by Daines in the Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill, reported out of Committee on June 25, 2015.
“Amtrak plays a critical role in connectivity along Montana’s Hi-Line. Reinstating the stop in Culbertson will increase the transportation options for people in northeastern Montana” Daines stated. “I am glad Amtrak has publicly agreed to this concept and recognizes the net positive benefit of this stop to their budget.”
“I’m excited to see that Amtrak still recognizes the potential for adding a stop to the Empire Builder line in Culbertson despite the current downturn in the Bakken,” Culbertson Mayor Gordon Oelkers. “I’m grateful for Senator Daines’ commitment to helping our area add this stop and I am eager to continue to work with his staff, Amtrak, BNSF, and others to move this project forward.”
Daines has also called on Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman to work with Eastern Montana stakeholders and reinstate the Empire Builder stop.
Daines is a member of both the authorizing and appropriating committees in the U.S. Senate responsible for federal transportation programs, both the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations.
Daines was a strong advocate for the FAST Act, a five-year surface transportation reauthorization bill which also authorized operation grants to Amtrak – the first long-term highway funding bill since 2009.
Daines also secured language in the FAST Act requiring Amtrak to evaluate options for establishing additional Amtrak stops that would have a positive financial impact to Amtrak, including the potential station in Culbertson, Montana. It also requires evaluation of options to enhance economic development and accessibility of Amtrak stations and their surrounding areas.