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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak appoints Learner to blue ribbon panel studying Chicago traffic congestion


Amtrak has named Chicago attorney Howard Learner a member of the Chicago Gateway Initiative, the railroad's blue ribbon panel charged with identifying infrastructure and operational improvements that can address rail gridlock in the Chicago area.

Learner serves as president of the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center and has "deep local expertise in regional issues," Amtrak officials said in a press release.

"The rail gridlock in Chicago is causing unacceptable delays for Amtrak passengers while reducing revenues and driving up operating costs for Amtrak," said Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Boardman. "Howard Learner will bring an important perspective to our work and will be a collaborative partner in this effort."

Other panel members include former U.S. Rep. Jack Quinn, who served as chairman of the House railroads subcommittee; Linda Morgan, former chairwoman of the Surface Transportation Board; and Tom Carper, an Amtrak board member and past chairman.

Representatives from freight railroads and other stakeholder organizations will be invited to participate in panel activities, and are key to implementing recommended solutions, Amtrak officials said.

The panel has been tasked with finding ways to optimize Amtrak's on-time performance and improve freight-rail service. A final report and recommendations are due at the end of May 2015.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/2/2014