Sen. Chuck Schumer on Sunday urged Congress to “come together and compromise” on a $1 trillion infrastructure spending package that would include funding to repair the region’s aging rail system.
Schumer’s push for lawmakers to act in a bipartisan fashion comes after two train derailments in the past two weeks that caused massive delays for commuters, including Long Island Rail Road passengers.
Speaking at a news conference in front of Penn Station, Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate minority leader, noted that last week’s derailment of an NJ Transit train at the station was caused by a track that was long in need of repair.
Amtrak, which oversees the station’s rail system, has said it is grappling with a $28 billion repair backlog.
“Maddening delays for rail commuters across the region from Long Island to New Jersey have exposed the repair backlog like never before,” Schumer said. “Even the smallest of maintenance issues, left unchecked, can become the reason for the next big delay, or worse, disaster.”
President Donald Trump has proposed spending $1 trillion in infrastructure repairs. Senate Democrats earlier this year introduced their own $180 billion infrastructure spending package to upgrade the nation’s roadways, bridges and railways.
Schumer said he was “hopeful” Republicans and Democrats could work together on a compromise spending bill that would fast-track much-needed rail repairs.
“Unfortunately, unless we fix these things,” derailments and delays will continue to occur, Schumer said.