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Freight and passenger rail executives are scheduled to appear before the Senate Commerce Committee on Oct. 21.

Commercial transportation policy authorizers in the Senate intend to examine supply chain operations across the freight rail network during the COVID-19 era. Transportation stakeholders, such as freight railroads, highway users, port operators, and public transit entities have warned of potential disruptions in service absent additional federal emergency aid.

For instance, Amtrak recently told leaders on Capitol Hill and the White House that it will need nearly $5 billion in fiscal 2021.

“Not only would deferring capital projects and procurement inhibit our ability to address the reliability and capacity needs of our rail network and impact the aforementioned corresponding capitalized Amtrak workforce, but such capital delays would also impact a specialized domestic supplier network,” Amtrak CEO William Flynn wrote Oct. 8.

Witnesses at the hearing will include Flynn; Randy Gordon, CEO of the National Grain and Feed Association; Kent Fountain, chairman of the National Cotton Council; Dennis Pierce, president of the Teamsters Rail Conference; and Ian Jefferies, CEO of the Association of American Railroads.

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