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Amrail (American Rail, officially the American Passenger Rail, Co.) is a United States federal government-owned rail agency that provides long-distance rail in much of the United States. Amrail was formed as part of the National High-Speed Railroad Act of 1964 and the Railway Nationalization Act of 1970. Amrail was initially meant to provide exclusively for inter-city high-speed railroads, specifally between New York and Washington, D.C. Instead, it came to take over several long and medium-distance normal-gauge passenger lines as well in the 1970s. In 1983, the Commuter Rail Act was signed into law by President George Bush devolving the authority for Amrail to service commuter rail lines, particularly in the Midwest, back to state agencies, thus federalizing commuter railways and giving the Federal Railroad Administration authority over Amrail, freight rail and commuter rail.
Since 1983, Amrail has been responsible for - by law - the maintenance of a "national rail link," encouraged to be mostly high-speed rail in excess of 124 miles per hour since 1964 and required to be be in excess of 160 miles per hour since the 1993 National HSR Expansion Act, which further expanded the reach and scope of the HSR network that had not been improved upon since the early 1970s and gave government grants for states and municipalities to expand upon their local rail services to achieve "peak integration." In 2008, President Dan Quayle authorized the National Transportation Enhancement Act, which added even further "shovel-ready" rail projects across the country, including environmental review waivers, as well as money for highway projects and grants for public transit.
RapidRail is the official brand name of Amrail's national HSR network, which currently has two networks - one on the East Coast and in the Midwest, and another in Southern California and Nevada. RapidRail can achieve speeds of up to 165 mph and is fully grade separated on dedicated and exclusive right-of-ways, and has fewer stations than other lines.
RapidRail Local refers to Amrail's East Coast sub-HSR network, with plans to add RapidRail Local in California and Washington state by 2021. RapidRail Local does not have exlclusive right-of-ways, though it is grade separated. It reaches top speeds of 125 mph.