Tester Secures $15 Million to Improve Montana Amtrak Service, Upgrade Empire Builder Infrastructure around Malta

Funding from Senator’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to eliminate rail service bottlenecks

As a part of his continued effort to support efficient Amtrak service in Montana, and as a direct result of his bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Job Act (IIJA), U.S. Senator Jon Tester today secured $14.9 million in funding to upgrade rail infrastructure in and around Malta along the Empire Builder route.

Tester worked with five Republicans and four Democrats to negotiate the IIJA and was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation to vote for the bill.

“As someone who’s spent his entire life in north central Montana, I can tell you firsthand just how critical the Empire Builder is to keeping communities connected and helping Montana small businesses thrive,” said Tester.“For years folks have been telling me that we need an upgrade to our rail infrastructure around Malta to improve passenger and freight services, and with the help of my bipartisan infrastructure law, we’ll finally be able to deliver. These funds will help ensure smooth and reliable service along the Empire Builder, and I’m proud to have worked across the aisle to make it happen.”

Funding from Tester’s bipartisan infrastructure law will be administered through the Federal-State Partnership program for the purpose of upgrading rail infrastructure in and around Malta. Specifically the funding will help with final design and construction of various track, bridge, signal, and other rail infrastructure improvements on BNSF tracks near Malta. The improved infrastructure will eliminate bottlenecks in the area that have previously caused delays and operational conflicts for freight and passenger trains.

Tester has been Montana’s leading advocate for passenger rail improvement. He was instrumental in restoring full, daily service to the Empire Builder in May, 2021. Tester’s bill reinstating furloughed Amtrak employees and rolling back previous service reductions to the Empire Builder route was signed into law as part of the American Rescue Plan in March 2021. Tester was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation to vote for the bill.