News & Commentary

Keeping Them Honest: NARP Answers Mica’s Claims

Written By Colin Leach Florida Congressman John Mica has a well-established reputation as a vociferous critic of Amtrak, taking the railroad to task for what he frequently claims are “Soviet-style operations”. Yet rather than basing his critiques on a sober analysis of Amtrak’s management choices within their operating environment, Mica embraces rhetoric that neither accurately describes Amtrak’s present operations nor understands some of the most basic aspects of the passenger rail ind

Endangered TIGER: The House threatens a map to success

By NARP interns Less Henderson, Colin Leach, and Logan McLeod The House Appropriations Committee voted 27-21 on June 27th to discontinue the TIGER program for FY 2014, as well as slash current awarded grants for FY 2013. The vote, which rejected an amendment offered by Rep. David Price (D-NC) to restore TIGER funding to 2013 levels, affirms the committee’s earlier decision to cancel future grants and starve existing projects of funds. In justifying the cuts, Appropriations Committee Chairman

OneRail Coalition Applauds Confirmation of Anthony Foxx as Secretary of Transportation

Written By Sean Jeans Gail The following statement was issued today by the OneRail coalition, of which NARP is a member: The OneRail Coalition congratulates Anthony Foxx on his confirmation by the United States Senate as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. In his time as Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, Secretary Foxx proved to be an effective public servant and a dynamic leader. Through his advancement of the Charlotte Regional Intermodal Facility, the Southeast High

Brazilians demand more train service

Written By Colin Leach Image: Wikicommons; Author: Portal de copaResponding to public demonstrations against rising fares, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced $25 billion of new funding for public transportation over the next few years. In a meeting with state governments and major city mayors, Rousseff stated that Brazil’s burgeoning economy needs a change in the “framework of [th]the transportation system”, including the construction of new subways and light rail systems. While

U.S. House endangers Amtrak; Senate pushes for adequate rail funding

Written By Sean Jeans Gail House refuses to back down from anti-Amtrak proposal The House and Senate Appropriations Committees went very different ways this week. The House approved $950 million for Amtrak (plus a whopping $25.3 million for Amtrak’s Inspector General) and nothing for state passenger train capital grants or TIGER grants. As we have reported, the House levels put the system at risk of collapse in the event of any major disruption. Amtrak President Joseph Boardman said this f

Action Needed: Call for Better 2014 Amtrak Funding!

Written By Malcolm Kenton On Friday, the House Appropriations Committee released fiscal 2014 spending levelsfor transportation that savage Amtrak, state corridor development, and high speed rail. Amtrak would get just $950 million, down 31% from this year. The High Speed & Intercity Passenger Rail Program—which has funded projects ranging from improvements to Maine’s Downeaster to development of a new 220 mph statewide high speed system in California—received was zeroed out. Meanwhile

Passenger rail expands globally

Written By Colin Leach Despite record decreases in government spending across the globe as well as the persistence of anemic economic growth, many countries are making heavy investments in improving existing passenger rail services, as well as constructing new ones. Whether these investments take the form of constructing new lines or introducing new technologies to improve existing services, both public and private stakeholders recognize that passenger rail can be the key to economic growth.

Tell your mayor to Stand Up for Trains!

Written By Sean Jeans Gail The House Appropriations Committee’s attack on Amtrak, which we reported to you yesterday, is just the tip of the iceberg. The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee leadership has criticized the long-distance trains, and appears poised to write an authorization bill that will threaten those trains, possibly by requiring states to pay for them—something NARP and others consistently have attacked as unworkable. Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) has, refer

Are US crashworthiness standards “dooming” passenger rail?

Written By Colin Leach One frequent criticism of passenger rail’s viability is that it entails high fixed costs and thus discourages potential investors. While many of these costs, such as track maintenance and equipment maintenance, are relatively constant, at least one can, according to a recent study, be significantly lowered: that of equipment purchases. In a new paper released by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, David Edmonson argues that outdated Federal Railroad Administration (F

For California, “No Build” is Not an Option

Written By Sean Jeans Gail CNN is at it again. The latest entry in their series of anti-rail attack ads focuses on California’s statewide high speed rail project, which will connect the state’s biggest cities through 220 mph service. In it, they found an unlikely ally in Quentin Kopp, one of the key architects of California’s high-speed rail project. Kopp is angry that the California High Speed Rail Authority has backed off from the construction of a planned four-track rail corridor int