News & Commentary

Compromise on surface transportation bill a disappointment to train passengers

Written By Sean Jeans Gail After months of gridlock and bicameral bickering, House and Senate conferees unveiled a surface transportation bill compromise late on Wednesday night. And for train passengers, this unveiling will undoubtedly leave them with a resounding sense of disappointment. The compromise bill eliminates the Senate’s rail title entirely. The only real provision directed at rail is the extension of a Railroad Grade Crossing set aside, which targets funds at improving and upgr

Two anti-train amendments down -- more votes to come in the House

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Following a debate on the House floor, two anti-train amendments were withdrawn by the Representatives offering them. An amendment offered by Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX) would directly shut down Amtrak’s long-distance trains. This would end passenger train service in 27 of the lower 48 states and threaten the remaining trains, as certain fixed costs that would not disappear would be shifted to the surviving trains, and the costs of closing routes also woul

House to vote on anti-passenger rail amendments today!

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Last chance to speak up for trains! Votes on amendments to the transportation/housing appropriations bill could come as early as today at 4:00 PM Eastern. In an unusual move, the House is operating under an “open rule,” which makes it very hard to know for sure what amendments will be offered. However, NARP has identified two distinct possibilities passengers should should be concerned about:Elimination of $500 million from Amtrak capital—As reported in yester

Gulf Coast Residents Send Clear Message to Washington

Written By Malcolm Kenton A sizable crowd came to Tallahassee, Florida's former Amtrak station on Saturday, garnering positive media exposure for NARP's joint effort to bring Amtrak service back to the New Orleans-Florida route that has been "suspended" since 2005. Tallahassee's former Amtrak station. Photo from Wikipedia.There was free food, live music and a party-type atmosphere, but most of the attendees were there for a reason: they want Amtrak service back in their Gulf Coast communities.

The Capitol Corridor's Passenger Rail Boom

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Reporter Susan Sward recently interviewed me for a Sacramento Bee piece profiling the dramatic change seen in the Capitol Corridor over the past thirty years—not only its booming ridership, but the cultural change its success has facilitated. Sward's examines the role (former NARP board member) Eugene Skoropowski played in developing the San Francisco Bay Area to Sacramento rail corridor: When the Capitol Corridor line began operating in 1991, it had six daily tr

Last chance to join in the Rally to “Bring Bak Amtrak”

Written By Sean Jeans Gail [via Visit Tallahassee] Local residents and rail passenger enthusiasts in the surrounding areas will come together to celebrate “Bring Bak Amtrak!” with a rally on June 23 at 11 a.m. The rally’s goal is to restore the Amtrak Sunset Limited Service between New Orleans and Jacksonville through Tallahassee. Events begin at the Historic Tallahassee Amtrak Station with “Rally at Railroad Square,” featuring food, drinks, keynote speakers and live music by JB’s

National Review Online attacks NARP

Written By Ross Capon In Washington, they say if someone’s not complaining about you, you’re probably doing something wrong. So perhaps we over at NARP should be pleased by the attention we’re getting from the National Review Online. Mostly, however, I’m disappointed. The federal government has spent more than $34 billion in general revenue taxpayer dollars (that is, tax dollars from sources other than user-fees, like the gas tax) on highways since 2008 alone. The surface transport

Outside-the-Box Partnerships Can Be Win-Wins for Transit Agencies

Written By Malcolm Kenton Not often do public transit agencies take big, outside-the-box moves to raise revenue, attract new riders, and build public goodwill. Agencies too often act like staid bureaucracies unwilling to go out on a limb and try something new. That's why I was pleased to hear of a deal that the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)announced yesterday that it had made with Groupon, an innovative national company that offers its members the chance to buy deeply-discounted coupons to r

A Critical Juncture for High-Speed Rail in America

Written By Malcolm Kenton Public debate around the California High-Speed Rail project is heating up as the state legislature prepares to vote on whether or not to continue funding the momentous undertaking, which still represents America's best shot at having a world-class high-speed rail line up and running within the next 10 years. The project's opponents continue to distort reality in arguing that the state can't afford high-speed rail -- when, in fact, it would cost the state even more over

Rally to Restore the Sunset Limited!

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Rally to Restore the Sunset Limited! Local train advocates are holding a rally to help restore the Sunset Limited at 11am on Saturday, June 23rd. The event will be held at the historical Tallahassee Train Station, and will feature speakers, live Music, food and refreshments. The rally will move over to the Railroad Square Art Park for a free concert by JB's Zydezo Zoo. There will be a special evening concert featuring Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers held