D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) added that Amtrak’s decision to break up the funding needs into phases over a long period of time will make it easier to persuade fiscally conscious lawmakers to contribute to the effort.
“Ask anyone, even Democrats, and they will tell you, ‘Congress is not going to fund an $8 billion expansion,’” Norton said. “They’ll say, of course they won’t do it in one fell swoop, or even 15 fell swoops. ... When we come to the Congress, we will show them the whole plan, and you’ll say, ‘We only want to get this much down and we’ll slice off.’”
Transportation Department Press Secretary Justin Nisly agreed with Norton’s assessment that the phased approach would make it easier to secure funding.
“Because the plan emphasizes incremental improvements over time and promises to deliver substantial benefits to a number of stakeholders, we’re confident that this project will be able to take advantage of a combination of public and private funding sources in the coming years,” Nisly said.
Norton also suggested that the fiscal outlook is bound to change as time goes by. “We’re going to get over this notion where you cut everything and leave the infrastructure to rot,” she said.