Amtrak Reform Council presents breakup plan to Congress

Posted on March 1, 2002

The Amtrak Corporation should be broken up and competition should be introduced to passenger rail, announced the Amtrak Reform Council (ARC) on Feb. 7 in its official recommendations to Congress for the restructuring of the rail system. The council’s action plan calls for the current corporation to be divided into three entities: a federal oversight agency; a government-owned and operated corporation to control passenger rail in the busy, high-maintenance Northeast Corridor stretching from Boston to Washington, D.C.; and an Amtrak train operating company. Additionally, private companies should eventually be allowed to bid on train routes. “The council believes that, as is the case throughout our free-market economy, competition would drive down costs and improve service quality,” the report read. With this restructuring, Amtrak would be able to focus on its core business of running trains without having to maintain the Northeast Corridor and fulfill other government functions. “Amtrak has too much to do, and does little of it well,” said Gil Carmichael, ARC chairman. Amtrak has not turned a profit in its 30-year history. In 1997, Congress gave Amtrak five years to end its dependence on government funding. Under the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act, Amtrak had to be operationally self-sufficient by December 2002, and the ARC was set up to monitor its progress. A U.S. Department of Transportation inspection found that much of Amtrak’s government funds went to promising new projects like the high-speed Acela Express, while basic maintenance needs went unmet. In response to the ARC report, Amtrak said the council has sidestepped the underlying policy and funding issues that must be determined for national passenger rail, and that these issues must be addressed and defined before further decisions are made. The House Transportation Committee scheduled three hearings on the report, the first of which took place on Feb. 14. Chairman Don Young agreed with the council’s recommendations. “Amtrak’s costs are too high and it runs a system that is designed to win funding support in Congress rather than a system based on sound financial and economic decisions,” he said. However, many Democrats on the committee said they support the Amtrak system. They said the government has failed to invest as much in passenger rail as it does in other modes of transportation.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

BYD enters mass transit market with low-cost train

The light rail technology is applicable to small and medium-sized cities, heavy traffic routes, CBD’s and routes connecting tourist attractions in large cities, according to the company.

MBTA forgives $839K in fines stemming from 2015 winter performance

According to the report, the company said that the forgiven fines regarded maintenance issues, and that the MBTA agreed to waive them amid evidence that maintenance workers were pulled from their regular jobs to help shovel off tracks and shorten delays.

Brookville set to deliver second QLine streetcar

Each red and white streetcar will seat 125 passengers and feature Wi-Fi, vertical bicycle racks, and an HVAC unit. M-1 officials said that its delivery schedule and testing remain on schedule, with track testing set to begin later this fall.

Testing may delay SMART rail launch until 2017

The rail agency announced Sept. 26 that it was only then beginning to ramp up speeds on the railcars during safety testing. But with 11 weeks left before the new year, officials have not pegged when the cars will be tested at their fullest capabilities.

Chicago Metra to test real-time travel information screens

Will also be working with local communities to give them the opportunity to provide community-specific information to be displayed on the screens at no cost.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment



Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close