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Friday, September 13, 2013    

AASHTO executive urges Amtrak, states to complete passenger-rail agreements


The leader of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is calling on Amtrak and state departments of transportation to complete negotiations over state-supported intercity passenger-agreements prior to the federal deadline of Oct. 16 in order to avoid a major disruption in rail service.

"The states recognize the importance of intercity passenger-rail service to the people and businesses that depend on the routes, as well as our overall economy," said AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright in a press release. "We will see a significant disruption in travel and mobility if these agreements are not in place soon."

The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 directed states and Amtrak to "develop and implement a single, nationwide standardized methodology for establishing and allocating the operating and capital costs among the states and Amtrak along the intercity passenger-rail corridors." The deadline for completing those agreements is Oct. 16.

Currently, Amtrak operates 21 state-supported passenger rail routes in 15 states. State-supported corridors account for half of Amtrak's annual ridership, Wright said.

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