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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak, New York State reach cost-sharing agreement

Amtrak and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) have reached an agreement on cost sharing for most Amtrak routes in the state as required by federal law, state and railroad officials announced late last week.

The agreement calls for the state to pay $22 million in federal fiscal-year 2014 to cover operating and capital costs associated with the Empire, Adirondack, Maple Leaf and Ethan Allen lines, NYSDOT officials said in a press release.

It costs Amtrak about $100 million annually to operate the four lines. The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 calls for states to share the costs of Amtrak routes less than 750 miles in length. The agreement signals the start of a new partnership between New York and Amtrak, with the shared goal of improving all aspects of service for riders, state and railroad officials said.

The new agreement also requires the state and Amtrak to draft performance measures for the state-supported routes. Criteria to be measured includes on-time performance, train and facility cleanliness, and customer service.

The agreement "underscores the importance of Amtrak service to our partners in New York, and we are pleased these vital services will continue to help the communities grow and prosper," said Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Boardman. "The [state-supported] service, which connects to the Amtrak national system and across the border into Canada, provides mobility, connectivity, economic development and jobs to the state."

New York already reached a separate agreement to share costs with the state of Vermont on the Ethan Allen, which runs between Albany and Rutland, Vt. New York will cover 35 percent of the Ethan Allen's $800,000 cost in FY2014.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/8/2013