Hotline

Your weekly source of fresh takes on news affecting America's passengers. See also the NARP Blog.

Hotline #715

President Bush appointed a Presidential Emergency Board on March 31 to prevent an Amtrak strike tonight. The board has 30 days to recommend settlement terms and then management and labor have 30 more days to accept or reject the terms, meaning no strike can happen legally before June 3. If there is a strike, Congress may step in and legislate a settlement, as they did last year with the freight strike. Amtrak has new contracts with 54% of its unionized workforce. The Montrealer's present route

Hotline #714-A

President Bush appointed a Presidential Emergency Board yesterday to prevent an Amtrak strike this weekend. The National Mediation Board had announced it could not settle outstanding contract disputes in early March, which started a 30-day clock ticking through April 3. The board has 30 days to recommend settlement terms and then management and labor have 30 more days to accept or reject the terms. Therefore, no strike can happen legally before May 31. If there is a strike, Congress may elect to

Hotline #714

The Supreme Court announced its verdict in the Montrealer case on March 25. On a 6-3 vote, the high court found for Amtrak, thereby overturning a lower court's ruling that Amtrak and the ICC had acted improperly by condemning a piece of Guilford trackage in Vermont used by the Montrealer. Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court and was joined by Rehnquist, Stevens, O'Connor, Scalia, and Souter. Justice White wrote the dissenting opinion and was joined by Blackmun and Thomas. The disse

Hotline #713-A

Great news today from the Supreme Court. On a 6-3 vote, the high court overturned a lower court's ruling that Amtrak and the ICC acted improperly by condemning a piece of Guilford trackage in Vermont used by the Montrealer. Ruling for Amtrak were Rehnquist, Stevens, O'Connor, Kennedy, Scalia, and Souter. Dissenting were White, Blackmun, and Thomas. This important victory is expected to put Amtrak in a better bargaining position with the freight railroads when operating agreements expire in 1996.

Hotline #713

The current co-sponsors of H.R.4414 are Representatives Swift, Ritter, Pease, Richardson, Slattery, Manton, Andrews, Eckart, Frank, and Wyden -- but we need more for this important Ampenny bill! It now looks like there will never be a vote on H.R.3732, Representative Conyers' (Mich.) proposal to remove the wall between defense and domestic spending. Without it, a House budget resolution will take effect giving Amtrak and transit a funding freeze for 1993. That would be pretty bad for Amtrak, wh

Hotline #712

Chairman Al Swift's Amtrak trust fund bill, H.R.4414, was introduced March 10. He is asking each NARP member to write to their Representatives and ask them to co-sponsor H.R.4414. Already sponsoring are Representatives Ritter, Pease, Richardson, Slattery, Manton, Andrews, Eckart, and Frank. A House vote on whether to remove the wall between defense and domestic spending has been postponed at least until next week. Right now, there are not enough votes in the House to do it, meaning a House budg

Hotline #711-A

Chairman Al Swift's Amtrak trust fund bill was introduced this afternoon in the House. It is H.R.4414. Swift has asked each NARP member to ask their Representative to co-sponsor this important bill. Representatives Ritter, Pease, Richardson, Slattery, Manton, and Andrews already are sponsors. Meanwhile, H.R.4250, the Amtrak reauthorization bill, was approved March 5 by the Transportation Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The Crescent will be replaced with a bus between Bi

Hotline #711

Chairman Swift's Amtrak trust fund bill has not been introduced yet in the House, but we are told that it will happen soon. Swift still needs co-sponsors, so ask your Representative to support his bill. Meanwhile, H.R.4250, the Amtrak reauthorization bill, was approved yesterday by Swift's Transportation Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The House has approved a budget resolution with two possible outcomes, depending on what happens next week with a proposal by Representa

Hotline #710

The Senate confirmed the nomination of Andrew Card as Secretary of Transportation on February 21. NARP testified on Amtrak reauthorization on February 26 before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Transportation. Senator Nickles (R.-Okla.) said he had assurances from Amtrak President Graham Claytor for a tri-weekly Lone Star by the end of 1993, though Amtrak says it would have to be a 403(b) train. The Amtrak gas-tax penny got an impressively sympathetic hearing from Senators Breaux (D.-La.) an

Hotline #709

The House Energy and Commerce transportation subcommittee held a hearing yesterday on H.R.4250, the two-year Amtrak reauthorization bill. Subcommittee Chairman Al Swift (D.-Wash.) is the author of the bill, authorizing $969 million for Amtrak and the Northeast Corridor in 1993 and $921 million in 1994. Besides the reauthorization bill, Swift plans to introduce next week a bill to create a passenger rail trust fund by earmarking a penny of the federal gasoline tax to Amtrak capital and other hig