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Rail News: Amtrak

Mica demands private-sector competition on Amtrak routes


U.S. Rep John Mica (R-Fla.) last week called on Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to implement the private-sector passenger-rail competition provisions included in the recently passed Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

The law requires various reforms for Amtrak, including soliciting requests from private companies to submit proposals for establishing high-speed service in designated congested rail corridors, according to a press release issued by Mica.

Additionally, the legislation requires the U.S. Department of Transportation to invite competition from the private sector on up to three long-distance routes.

"I intend to do everything possible to ensure that the Obama administration does not drag its feet in ending Amtrak's Soviet style monopoly on passenger rail service," Mica said in the release.

"In the Northeast Corridor, so-called high-speed train travel is a joke with an average speed of 68 mph between New York and Boston, and 83 mph between New York and Washington, D.C. It's time to join the rest of the advanced world by allowing the private-sector the opportunity to bring high-speed rail to this and other corridors," he said.

Private-sector competition would improve and expand passenger service in the United States, as well as save taxpayers money, Mica said.