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

Hotline #994

FRA Issues 30-Year Investment Plan; Gateway Project Included In 10-Year Plan From Port Authority of NY and NJ; Congress Passes Short-Term Budget & Amtrak Border Bill; NARP Opens Applications for Next Summer By Rail

Keep ‘em coming! NARP thanks those members who have sent in industry-related news stories, op-eds, editorials, or letters to the editor from your communities. We include them in our social media efforts, along with the weekly Hotline. Please send your news items to Bob Brady,, and we will continue to share it with the membership. We also ask members to send events that we can put on the website, here. And please follow NARP on Facebook and Twitter. The Federal Ra

Hotline #993

House Delays Increase in Funding; FRA Plans for Amtrak Tunnel in Baltimore: NARP Continues Fight For OTP; Dan Akroyd Helps NARP Share Importance of Rail

Hotline #993: House Delays Increase in Funding; FRA Plans For Amtrak Tunnel in Baltimore; NARP Continues Fight For OTP; Dan Aykroyd Helps NARP Share Importance of Rail Additional funding for transportation infrastructure under the FAST Act will have to wait until at least the end of April, 2017. Funding for transportation related projects was supposed to see an influx of $2.4 billion with the start of the 2017 fiscal year. However, Republican House leaders moved forward with a continuing res

Hotline #992

Long-Awaited Station Opens in Niagara Falls; FRA Provides Update on PTC Implementation; Sources Confirm Gateway Project Board; Cuomo Announces $30M Investment in Alstom

After nearly two decades of planning and construction, the International Train Station and Intermodal Transportation Center in Niagara Falls, NY will enter service on Tuesday, December 7, 2016. The first train to use the new facility will be Amtrak’s #64, the eastbound Maple Leaf, on route from Toronto to New York City. While no official opening ceremony is currently scheduled, Niagara Falls, NY Mayor, Paul Dyster, has stated that the city is working on such an event. While some minor work sti

Hotline #991

FRA Releases Draft Rules on HSR; CaHSRA To Buy American; NARP Appointed To New USDOT Committee; FRA Focuses on Sleep Apnea

Following 10 years of discussions and research with the passenger rail industry, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released a set of proposed draft regulations for high-speed rail in the U.S. It’s the first time the federal government has proposed standards and safety regulations specifically for high-speed trains. Prior to these proposed regulations, the government only focused on regulations for trains traveling below 150 mph, but trains approaching 220 mph require a distinct set

Hotline #990

Amtrak Celebrates Record Earnings and Surge in Ridership; Congress Willing to Support Trump’s Infrastructure Plans; Sen. Blumenthal Urges Action Before Obama Leaves Office

Amtrak announced record earnings for fiscal year 2016, which ended on September 30, bringing in $2.14 billion in unaudited ticket revenue, a $12 million increase over the past year. This record was driven by surging demand for trains; Amtrak carried 31.3 million passengers in the past year, 400,000 more than last year. Amtrak also noted several contributing factors to the transit agency’s success in 2016, including the addition of cars for lines that saw increased demand or were regularly sol

Hotline #989

Republican Party Takes Control of All Three Branches of Government; Voters Approve 69% of Public Transit Measures; FRA Rejects Drug Testing Petition; SEPTA Strike Ends

Following a contentious election, American voters have given control of the federal government to the Republican Party, which has taken the White House and retained control of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Given the disparity between Donald Trump’s ambitious (but vague) infrastructure proposals and the 2016 Republican Party Platform, there is a lot of work NARP staff will need to do to map out a strategic plan for securing passenger-friendly policy in the 115th Congress. Howev

Hotline #988

Strong Support Shown for HSR in Texas; HSR Proposals Taking Shape In The South; New Amtrak Diner In Final Testing; SEPTA Experiences Strike; NYC Releases BQX Proposed Routes

Growing demand for high-speed rail throughout the U.S. is leading to stronger support from the general public for HSR projects nationwide. Multiple states and regions across the country are looking for HSR service and equipment upgrades, including California, Minnesota, the Northeast Corridor, and of course, Texas. A new poll in Texas by Survey USA highlights the trend, revealing that 76 percent of those surveyed support a privately built HSR system between Dallas and Houston. Fourteen percent w

Hotline #987

California HSR Revises Capacity Plans, Amtrak Bans Samsung Phone, NYC Readies Second Ave. Line, Oversight Committee Meeting Held for NJ Transit

In important news for California high-speed rail, the state’s high-speed rail authority has announced it will cut planned capacity to manage costs. The change by California's High Speed Rail Authority will result in the HSR system running fewer cars per train than originally proposed, 10 cars instead of 20 cars. This change is significant as it will reduce cost, time and labor for development and construction of the network and rail stations. Currently, construction is underway for the Initial

Hotline #986

Secretary Foxx Views HSR; SE. Schumer Calls for PTC in NY, Dallas Union Station Reaches 100; Gateway Program Hits Milestones

With several billion dollars of federal stimulus and railroad improvement funds invested in high-speed rail in California through the U.S. Department of Transportation, Secretary Anthony Foxx made a visit to the San Joaquin Valley to get a peek at how work has progressed on the system. More than $3 billion from the Obama administration – much of it from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – is being used for work in the Valley to support small and local businesses and employment

Hotline #985

OIG Reports Amtrak Needs to Budget for PTC; FTA Announces $14.7 Million in Grants; High-Speed Rail Updates in Fresno, CA

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for Amtrak released a new report that highlighted the Amtrak’s need to budget appropriately for live-saving technology throughout its rail network. The report found that Amtrak has made strides in implementing automated braking technology known as Positive Train Control (PTC), but that the passenger rail agency still has several tasks to complete before it reaches full implementation before the end of 2018 - the current deadline. As of now, the OIG stated