Frank N. Wilner is author of six books, including, Amtrak: Past, Present, Future; Understanding the Railway Labor Act; and, Railroad Mergers: History, Analysis, Insight. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics and labor relations from Virginia Tech. He has been assistant vice president, policy, for the Association of American Railroads; a White House appointed chief of staff at the Surface Transportation Board; and director of public relations for the United Transportation Union. He is a past president of the Association of Transportation Law Professionals.
This is about a highway homicide — and we know who dunnit. The perp long ago was identified by state and federal authorities. Yet Congress refuses to order the collar, closing its eyes to a mayhem playing out at every hour, on every federal-aid roadway and adversely affecting every taxpayer and every motorist in the wallet, while simultaneously turning on its head the concept of economic efficiency.
That President Obama mentioned not a word on high speed rail or Amtrak in his State of the Union speech reflects on the rather dreadful manner in which his administration has pursued the presidential vision in support of expanded rail passenger service.
Don’t assume, based on headlines, an obituary for high speed rail just yet. A more accurate analogy is an induced coma brought on by poor planning and implementation amidst an increased necessity to pare federal deficits.
Any notion that Debra (Deb) Miller, President Obama's nominee to succeed Frank Mulvey at the Surface Transportation Board, is a gullible "Dorothy from Kansas" should be ditched chop-chop.
Creative vision in Washington, D.C., is not quite an oxymoron, but seemingly only extraordinary external events cause it to materialize.
Economists call it "creative destruction," the emergence of newer, faster, cheaper and better ideas, products and processes that replace and destroy the less efficient.
Legendary Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver etched his illustrious baseball career and winning record with the three-run homer. Were Amtrak a Major League Baseball team, its success would be measured, instead, by infield hits. But Amtrak may have hit one long ball this week when new House Rail Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) conceded that Amtrak passenger service on the Northeast Corridor and on state-supported corridors is profitable and efficient.