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With a new administration in D.C., it's time to think outside of the box because passenger rail's survival just may depend on it

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tackling the Headlines 7

Washington State beats Washington, D.C.
After the standoff, WSDOT prevailed over the FRA. Hopefully, this is the beginning of reasonable liability guidelines.

Good news, bad news in North Carolina
The former is that the Old North State is no longer battling the feds. An agreement will allow for track improvements and additional trains among other things. However, there are now Republican legislators in the General Assembly who want to prohibit those funds from being used. This should and will get vetoed, and it should be pointed out to these highway-loving politicians that it costs more to build a bridge than it will to build a credible rail system.

Amtrak's increased focus on the Northeast Corridor
Recently, Amtrak president Joseph Boardman let it be known that his company will be primarily focused on the NEC. At least now, management is openly admitting it rather than leading the rest of the nation on. If the carrier is going to shift its focus to the area where it owns the most tracks and is the most successful, then it will have to change its focus on being a national carrier.


Here's what I mean: As long as Amtrak is going to primarily focus on the line between Washington and Boston, then it will have to give up many other routes. As it is now, the company is already looking to the future where it envisions an Express route roughly parallel to its existing line. This would also mean that by 2040, only the host railroads, Rail Consortium, and PPPs would be "national" entities as Amtrak would basically be a bi-coastal company with several Chicago Hub routes and a few overnight routes while private entities and transit agencies would fill the remaining void.

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