11 Senators Want National Network Commitment

Eleven U.S. Senators have asked Amtrak to affirm its support of a national rail network.

The letter was sent to Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson by the six senators from Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico.

Also signing the letter were senators from Nevada, West Virginia, Arizona, Montana and Illinois.

The letter asked Anderson to respond by April 29 and to make a “firm commitment that Amtrak will abide by its statutory purpose — maintaining a truly national network for our rail system.”

The senators said that Amtrak was created to create a “web of essential connections that bind our country together.”

Citing recent congressional testimony, fleet and service planning documents, and language in Amtrak’s 2020 budget request, the senators cited seven areas of concern.

Those include questionable cost allocation accounting; plans to either truncate long-distance routes or attempt to have states pay for them; discussions Amtrak has had with host railroads or states about adding short-distance frequencies; a  challenge to Amtrak’s claim that demand for its interstate services is declining, citing figures indicating an increase “in spite of worsening on-time performance, capacity reductions and other changes to service levels; the effect of removing ticket agents at stations, and a question why “Amtrak calculates ridership boardings on weekly totals on routes that do not run daily.”; policies that would help Amtrak improve host railroad on-time performance; and a request for a timeline to put 25 new Viewliner II sleeping cars into service, noting that sleeping cars provide approximately 40-50 percent of the revenue on many long distance trains.

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One Response to “11 Senators Want National Network Commitment”

  1. Rail Provocateur Says:

    What is the inhibiting force preventing Congress from accurately identifying PRIIA as the culprit to the problems of the National System? PRIIA allowed Amtrak to force its inaccurate and misleading full cost methodology onto the states for their corridors under 750 miles; while subsidizing the deficits of the NEC; to allow intercity trains to travel at no charge on the NEC (<450 miles between WAS-BOS).

    Today, PRIIA is being utilized to segment and isolate the long distance routes by conveniently carving them up into corridors up to 750 miles; thus, ensuring all costs will fall upon the states west of the Potomac.

    PRIIA has evolved into a poorly disguised formula to cost shift from the NEC to those states; preventing their ability to initiate or expand frequent, inter-regional corridors to enhance mobility and economic development.

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