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

Hotline #966

Longest and Deepest Rail Tunnel Opens; NARP Warns of “Transportation Meltdown”; WMATA Releases Maintenance Schedule

Any transportation infrastructure project takes time to plan, develop and construct as initiatives require feasibility and environmental studies, cost estimates, funding, and more. This is a reality for major projects like high-speed rail in California, more localized projects like light-rail in the Seattle area, or even projects that have a major regional and national scope, such as the Hudson Tunnel project in the greater New York area. Yet, when the project is completed and open, it can have

Hotline #965

Senate Approves Further Amtrak Support for NEC; MTA Receives $27 Billion; Developers Focus on Revitalization Centered Around Rail

Regular and continuous investment in railroad infrastructure is vital to long-term growth and success, especially for Amtrak in the Northeast Corridor. Congress made note of this when it passed a new measure that would allow Amtrak to direct money into overdue repair and maintenance work between Washington and Boston, its busiest route in the country. The appropriations bill was passed last week and included $114 billion for transportation and housing programs. Language in this section allows Am

Hotline #964

NTSB Findings on Train 188; CHSRA Receives Grant Extension; NARP Intern Travels Across U.S. by Rail

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its investigative findings regarding Amtrak Train 188, which derailed last May. The results of the investigation state that the Amtrak engineer was mostly likely distracted by radio discussions regarding an emergency situation on a different train that was stuck by rocks. Due to that emergency radio traffic, the engineer lost track of where he was and did not realize the train was heading into a curve with reduced speed limits. Train 188 d

Hotline #963

One Year Anniversary of Amtrak 188; Potential Delays for Gateway Tunnel; Economic Boost from HSR in Texas

A year ago on May 12, Amtrak Train 188 derailed outside Philadelphia. Eight people died and 200 hundred were injured in the tragic accident. It was a moment in time that changed the way the public and government agencies view passenger rail, and it forced people to closely look at appropriate funding for railroads and infrastructure, as well as technologies, like Positive Train Control (PTC), that could improve safety and prevent unnecessary tragedies. The country’s transportation infrastructu

Hotline #962

Fixing Bottleneck in NEC; NYC Ridership Surges; States Looking for Private Funding of HSR

Efficiency, timeliness and modern infrastructure are critical for rail services and their passengers - whether commuting between only a few stations, or traveling long distances through multiple states. It’s no surprise that if trains regularly run late, are overcrowded, and constantly need repair, passengers may look to other forms of transportation for their needs, leaving rail services with less revenue. NARP knows investment is critical, and properly funded and supported projects have a st

Hotline #961

FRA Announces $25 Million Grants; More Issues for Metro; New HSR Plan in CA Approved

U.S. DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx announced this week that he has replaced three members of Washington, D.C.’s Metro board in the face of ongoing safety issues. The three new board members, who will take office June 1, are Carol Carmody, former vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board; David Strickland, former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; and Robert Lauby, chief safety officer of the Federal Railroad Administration. Maintaining a safe and

Hotline #960

U.S. Senate Approves Increased Funding for Rail; National Rail Network Needed To Compete on Global Economy

Two new reports have highlighted the continued growth and interest in passenger rail service throughout the U.S., in two different areas of the country - the Midwest and New York. The reports, which are described below, highlight that interest in transportation, specifically, commuter rail, is changing in the country and how people want to connect between their homes, work and other cities. This idea of connectivity was highlighted by Parag Khanna, a senior fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of P

Hotline #959

NARP’s “Day on the Hill,” Presidential Candidates on Mass Transit, CHSRA’s New Plans

Following NARP’s “Day on the Hill” on April 12th in Washington, D.C., president and CEO Jim Mathews and NARP Chairman Bob Stewart presented U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) with the prestigious “Golden Spike” Award at the organization’s annual Congressional Reception. The award was presented to to the two senators for their leadership in passing the bipartisan Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the first comprehensive surface transportation bil

Hotline #958

Amtrak Derailment Renews Calls for Safety; FTA Announces Transit-Oriented Development Support

Operation of the nation's rail network is and will continue to be an important safety issue that is heavily debated on Capitol Hill. The country’s rail infrastructure needs appropriate levels of funding and support to ensure that all railroads operate safely, and last week's derailment involving an Amtrak train and two deaths renewed these safety and infrastructure discussions. Following the derailment of Amtrak Train 89, which struck a backhoe south of Philadelphia at 106 MPH, the Federal Ra

Hotline #957

USDOT Shifts Postion on OTP, Boardman Talks Amtrak's Future, WMATA Looks to Restore “World-Class” Quality

In the second round of comments submitted by Amtrak to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) regarding on-time performance (OTP) measurement for passenger rail, the U.S. Department of Transportation has shifted to back NARP’s position that all stations should be subjected to on-time standards. After an initially ambiguous statement during the initial February 8 deadline, the U.S. DOT seemed swayed by arguments made by Amtrak and passenger rights groups such as NARP. U.S. DOT deputy general c