Second attempt at PRRIA launched

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has introduced H.R. 749, the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (PRRIA). The bill, identical to legislation introduced in 2014 by T&I, is described as “bipartisan legislation that improves the infrastructure, reduces costs, creates greater accountability and transparency, leverages private sector resources, and accelerates project delivery for Amtrak and the nation’s passenger rail transportation system.”

Post-election: Railroads look OK; rail labor, Amtrak not so good

What does Senate Republican control and the largest House Republican majority since the 1940s mean for railroad reregulation, Amtrak’s future, high- and higher-speed rail, transit funding, Positive Train Control (PTC), corporate tax reform, short line tax credits, the future of coal, and a minimum crew-consist mandate?

House T&I to STB: Look before you leap

On March 25-26, 2014, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) will hold a public hearing on a petition by the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) to modify STB’s standards for mandatory competitive switching. The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has sent a bipartisan letter to STB Chairman Dan Elliot and Vice Chairman Ann Begeman indirectly urging them to consider the consequences for railroads should the Board accept NITL’s proposal, and strongly voicing the Committee’s intent to oppose such a policy change.

House T&I panel releases freight transportation report

In a rare display of bipartisan functionality on Capitol Hill, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation has released its final report on the current state of freight transportation in the U.S. and its recommendations for freight transportation improvements to strengthen the national economy.

Maine House rep introduces two-person-crew bill

Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Me.) on Aug. 2, 2013 introduced “The Safe Freight Act,” a bill requiring a minimum of two-person crews for freight trains. Fellow Maine Democrat Rep. Chellie Pingree is an original cosponsor of the bill.

What’s with Congressman Mica, the foodie?

Will somebody pass John Mica some Pepto Bismol? Surely the 11-term House Republican from Florida suffers recurrent gastrointestinal distress resulting from digging into, examining, criticizing, and lambasting Amtrak’s troubled food and beverage income statement more often than the FBI excavates searching for Jimmy Hoffa.

Amtrak’s vision must navigate the money trap

A mark, a yen, a buck, a pound, money makes the world go round. (Yes, lyrics from the musical, Cabaret.) But money is a scarce commodity, especially for Amtrak, which competes with other publicly funded projects—not the least being mass transit, aging water and sewer systems, highways, commercial aviation, and ports.
AMTK Heartland Flyer

Could the worm be turning for Amtrak?

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.


House freight panel to host roundtable with DOT, Army Corps of Engineers

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation, chaired by Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.), will hold a roundtable meeting on May 15 to examine what efforts the Department of Transportation and the Army Corps of Engineers have made to coordinate freight transportation policy, and what challenges exist for greater coordination among federal departments and agencies.

House T&I Committee convenes panel to study freight transport

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has convened a new panel—the “Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation”—which is “tasked with examining the current state of freight transportation in the United States and how improving freight transportation can strengthen the U.S. economy.”