The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) “strongly urges” public transit agencies to obligate remaining COVID-19 funds as soon as possible. Also, the Amtrak Food & Beverage Working Group sends recommendations to Congress after year-long analysis of Amtrak onboard service; Arup supports Metrolinx plans to electrify Canada’s largest commuter rail network; construction is now complete at Metrolinx’s Bramalea GO Station; and registration is now open for first courses at the International Association of Public Transport’s (UITP) North American Regional Training Center hosted by NJ Transit and Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT).
Rail Passengers Association
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on Sept. 7 conducted a hearing to consider President Joe Biden’s nominees to the Amtrak Board of Directors. The nominees—David Capozzi, Anthony Coscia (renomination),
California’s new $307.9 billion budget includes the release of $4.2 billion in Proposition 1A funds to the California High-Speed Rail Authority, “prioritizing $2 billion for the construction of the Merced-to-Bakersfield segment, with a new independent Office of Inspector General providing oversight of the project,” the Los Angeles Times reported on June 30.
HDR has named Shyam Kannan Mid-Atlantic Transit Lead. Also, the Rail Passengers Association’s (RPA) volunteer leaders elected former Charlottesville (Va.) Deputy Mayor and City Councillor Meredith Richards as Board Chair.
In October, I reported on three events that took place within three days, all of which concerned the possibility of more Amtrak-operated state-supported trains in the Midwest. The events are now over,
U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) have reintroduced a bill authorizing $250 million annually for highway/rail grade crossing safety projects.
“Unripe.” That is what CSX and Norfolk Southern (NS) have called Amtrak’s application with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) asking for an order requiring the freight railroads to permit access for twice daily round-trip passenger service between New Orleans and Mobile, starting on or about Jan. 1, 2022.
Recent opinion pieces and news stories, such as in Railway Age, have indicated the Rail Passengers Association “goes along to get along” with Amtrak executives and does not express any objections to what the passenger railroad has done or will do when it comes to serving the riding public. This is clearly not the case.
New Jersey calls itself “The Crossroads of the Revolution” in its promotional literature and advertisements. Not only was it centrally located during America’s War for Independence, but its troops under George Washington were tested against both the heat and the British at the Battle of Monmouth in June, 1778 and against the coldest winter of the century, 1779-80, at Morristown. Both times, and on other occasions, it met the challenges and went on to help establish our nation.
A white paper issued by the Rail Passengers Association, “Amtrak’s Route Accounting: Fatally Flawed, Misleading & Wrong,” contends that Amtrak’s fully allocated cost methodology “grossly exaggerates the cost of operating the national passenger train system. This, in turn, has lead to the conclusion adopted by many elected leaders and other affected stakeholders that abandonment of key long-distance trains will save Amtrak significant sums and lead to a more financially secure national passenger operation.”