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RAIL EMPLOYMENT



Rail News Home Amtrak

4/15/2005



Rail News: Amtrak

Second time around: Bush Administration reintroduces Amtrak reform legislation


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Yesterday, the Bush Administration reintroduced legislation that’s been debated in the transit-rail world since it was originally introduced in July 2003: the Passenger Rail Investment Reform Act.

The legislation would transition Amtrak into an operating company, create a federal-state partnership to support passenger rail, introduce market-based competition and set up an inter-state compact to maintain the Northeast Corridor, according to a prepared statement.

"This legislation is a lifeline to a dying railroad company," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, referring to the national passenger railroad. "Congress has postponed saving Amtrak long enough. It’s time to act."

Under the proposal, Amtrak would focus solely on operating trains and no longer be responsible for maintaining tracks, stations and other infrastructure.

The legislation includes a federal-state partnership under which the administration would provide a 50 percent matching grant to states completing infrastructure projects to improve passenger-rail service. In addition, states would be able to contract Amtrak or a private or public company to operate rail service. The proposal also includes capital funding to bring the Northeast Corridor into a state of good repair.


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