A group of current and former transportation industry executives announced the launch of the Commuter Rail Coalition, an association representing the interests, needs and benefits of the nation’s commuter railroads.

The Commuter Rail Coalition is comprised of commuter rail agencies, operators, and other interested parties, acting together to engage and educate stakeholders and communitieson the value of commuter railroads. The coalition will give a stronger voice in Washington to the safest mode of surface transportation, according to a statement. Commuter rail transportation delivers 490 million passenger trips annually, reduces congestion, decreases commuters’ carbon footprints, and increases property values as well as a region’s tax base.

“Commuter railroads need the focus in Washington that brings our issues forward. By coming together as a single group, the Commuter Rail Coalition allows us to leverage our collective voices on the issues that matter.” – Jim Derwinski, chair

The group is governed by an executive committee consisting of Jim Derwinski, CEO/executive director of Metra (Chicago), Doug Kelsey, GM, TriMet (Portland, Oregon), and Steven Abrams, executive director of SFRTA/Tri-Rail (South Florida). The Commuter Rail Coalition’s founding executive director is KellyAnne Gallagher, most recently director of regulatory affairs, corporate standards and benchmarking for the NY MTA.

In addition, founders and founding members also include Tom Prendergast, former chairman and CEO of the NY MTA; Joe Giulietti, commissioner, Connecticut DOT; Matthew O. Tucker, executive director, North County Transit District (Oceanside, CA); Kevin Corbett, executive director, New Jersey Transit; Pat Warren, former executive director of the Federal Railroad Administration; Mike Noland, president, Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District; and John Cline, senior managing director, FTI Consulting.

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