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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

AAR responds to Supreme Court's decision on metrics, standards

Ian Jefferies
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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the Association of American Railroads' (AAR) challenge to a federal statute that allowed Amtrak to help set Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) performance and scheduling standards on the nation's railroads.

The court denied the AAR's petition for writ of certiorari that sought to reverse the District of Columbia Court of Appeals' July 2018 decision that granted Amtrak a say with the FRA in determining on-time performance metrics and standards for passenger trains.

In response, AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ian Jefferies issued the following statement: “While AAR and the freight railroad industry are disappointed that the Supreme Court denied our petition for cert regarding metrics and standards for Amtrak schedule performance, we are pleased that the metrics and standards remain invalidated. Freight railroads are committed to providing efficient and reliable service to all their customers and tenant railroads, and we will work with the FRA and Amtrak in a way that recognizes the importance of moving increased freight volume to help support the U.S. economy."

The Rail Passengers Association (RPA) is pleased with the court's decision, said President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Mathews in a prepared statement.

"The Supreme Court’s decision to let this case end removes the final hurdle to Amtrak and the FRA working together to restore on-time performance standards that were vacated by previous rulings," Mathews said. "With on-time performance today at record lows, American passengers have been waiting for years for the courts to step in, and now the highest court in the land has spoken."

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