Don't Let Amtrak Get Stuck in the Slow Lane!
March 1, 2016
As part of NARP’s ongoing efforts to improve unreliable On-Time Performance, NARP issued formal comments warning that a recent Surface Transportation Board (STB) policy statement threatens to leave passengers stuck in freight traffic.
“The law was originally written so that host railroads – rescued by taxpayers in 1970 when Amtrak was created to relieve the host railroads of having to run passenger trains – had to give passenger trains preference unless they could win an exemption by proving that preference for passenger trains would ‘materially lessen the quality of transportation provided to freight shippers,’” wrote NARP President Jim Mathews. “…The effect of STB’s new policy statement as written would be to flip the burden of proof from host railroads, who must by statute seek relief from STB, to Amtrak, which would have to prove to STB that a host railroad’s failure to give preference did NOT ‘materially lessen the quality of freight transportation’ – a largely impossible burden given the need for access to proprietary data and information.”
This “Policy Statement” – issued without hearing any evidence, without taking any public testimony, and without even undergoing any kind of formal rulemaking procedure – fundamentally changes the rules of the game on how Amtrak can press host railroads to honor their legal obligations, going around the intent of Congress as expressed some 30 years ago and consistently reaffirmed in law and court rulings.
Now, we need your help to tell the STB how late trains negatively affect you!
NARP included the stories NARP members shared with us over the past few years (included below), helping to put a human face on these delays. Your stories can make a difference!
Take a minute to write to the STB and let them know how important reliable train service is to your community! (And please Bcc NARP at "firstname.lastname@example.org" to help us keep track of responses.)
Thank you for your help improving America's trains!