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On the 100th anniversary of the opening of New York City's Penn Station, New York City's Penn Station, city, state, and federal officials gathered Oct. 18 for the groundbreaking for Phase I of the new Moynihan Station, which Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said "is poised to be one of the greatest transportation and infrastructure legacies of our generation."

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Norfolk Southern announced Oct. 19 that is launching a  "One Line, Infinite Possibilities" advertising campaign that it says builds on its "Thoroughbred of Transportation" communications program, now in its 28th year.

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When Amtrak partnered with IMAGES USA to create a television commercial targeting the Hispanic community, the strategy was clear—produce a culturally relevant, Spanish-language commercial showcasing the unique on-board benefits of train travel in order to increase brand awareness among Hispanic consumers.

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Union Pacific on Oct. 18 celebrated the opening of its 785-acre Joliet Intermodal Terminal, which it said  “increases international and domestic container capacity while improving rail traffic efficiencies througho ...
The Kansas Department ofTransportation announced Oct. 18 that an agreement for a $35 million grant to BNSF from the state’s Rail Assistance Program has been finalized. BNSF announced simultaneously that it has selected T.J. Lambrech ...
Surface Transportation Board Commissioner and former Chairman Charles D. Nottingham said that he will not seek a second term on the Board when his current term expires Dec. 31. ...
Donald M. Itzkoff, a nationally recognized rail policy expert with 25 years of experience in transportation and technology issues, has joined the executive staff of GE Transportation as Executive Counsel, Public Policy and Government Relations for North America, effective Oct. 25, 2010. He will b ...
Tidal waves, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, towering infernos, comets and asteroids hurtling toward Earth, railroads: All make good fodder for violence-filled action movies. Yes folks, another runaway train movie will soon open in theaters everywhere. This one’s sure to inspire confid ...

In a 17-page filing submitted Wednesday, Oct. 13, the United Spinal Association, a non-profit group, charged New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority with advancing “a major renovation of Dyckman Street Station, and to spend many millions of dollars doing so, without doing the disability access work that would allow people with disabilities and seniors to actually use the facility.”

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MTA is arguing that the subway station, located on the No. 1 line in northern Manhattan, is not a key transfer station nor a top 100 “key”station required to be complaint with the Americans with Disabilities Act by2020, as measured by ridership. MTA also says it cannot fully fund theimprovements sought by the association, including elevator access, alluding to the “unfunded mandate” levied by Congress.

But the association filing counters, “Federal law requires that when alterations are made to an existing transit facility, at least 20% of the cost of the alterations must be spent on making the altered facility accessible to and usable by people with disabilities … ”

MTA last July began work on the $47 million rehabilitation project, which includes platform replacement and track replacement.

 

--> In a 17-page filing submitted Wednesday, Oct. 13, the United Spinal Association, a non-profit group, charged New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority with advancing “a major renovation of Dyckman Street Station, and to spend many millions ...

A refinancing agreement between the U.S. government and Amtrak will save taxpayers approximately $162 million, the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Treasury jointly announced Friday.

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During the course of its 39-year existence, Amtrak has incurred a large amount of debt paid by the government through an annual appropriation to the national passenger railroad.  The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA) permitted the Treasury Department to study ways to repay or restructure Amtrak’s debt that would save money for the taxpayer and the railroad, and to take action on its findings if this would produce substantial savings.

Friday’s announcement is based on the government’s findings. Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, the government will exercise early buyout options on 13 existing high-cost leases during the next three years. The $420 million upfront cost will save approximately $582 million in future payments, in effect saving the taxpayer approximately $162 million.

“This announcement is good for taxpayers and important for the future of rail service in America,” said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. “Refinancing these leases will save taxpayers money while continuing the President's vision of improving passenger rail service across the country at a lower cost."

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“This is a great opportunity to help Amtrak and save money for the taxpayer,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (pictured at right). “These savings also represent funds that could be used to support the development of high speed rail,” he said, referring to U.S. HSR and higher speed rail (HrSR) efforts. 

Amtrak revenue increased 9% in fiscal year 2010, which ended Sept. 30, compared with the previous fiscal year. Ridership, up 5.7%, was 28.7 million, matching its FY08 total; ridership is up nearly 37% since fiscal year 2000.
  

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