Your weekly source of fresh takes on news affecting America's passengers. See also the RPA Blog.

Hotline #928

Congress went back into session this week with a lot of legislation to pass in the fall session before adjourning for 2015. The bill that’s most important to NARP is the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act, a major transportation effort that includes provisions from the Senate’s rail reform bill. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said in Politico that it “wasn’t happy news” to hear this week that DOT now predicts the Highway Trust Fund won’t need another

Hotline #927

The Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration held an event September 3 at Washington Union Station to announce an increased TSA security presence over the Labor Day travel weekend, part of a program dubbed "Operation Rail Safe." "Rail safety is shared endeavor," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told reporters at the event. "You will see days like today when there is increased personnel and random screenings. We do this several times a year." Last we

Hotline #926

Photo courtesy of Amtrak An attempted attack by an armed man aboard a train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris has now brought rail security in the United States into the spotlight, including the question on whether current security measures are adequate, reported the New York Times. Unlike airports, which are guarded with multiple layers of security — including airport police and Transportation Security Administration personnel operating metal detectors and full-body scanners — most rail

Hotline #925

A vintage post card of of the Hudson River Tunnels. Image courtesy of the Northeast Corridor Commission. As the wrangling over when a new Hudson River Tunnel will be built and who will pay for it, the New York Times editorial board urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to “get on board” with the Gateway project. The editorial noted that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) recently met with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and said it was time for Cuomo to do the same. Gov. Cuomo hasn't denied

Hotline #924

Now that Congress is out for its summer recess, the fate of the Hudson River tunnel continues to be the hot news topic. Rail advocate Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has joined Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J) to position themselves as the brokers to come up with a permanent solution. Schumer wants to create a new partnership called the Gateway Development Corporation, reports Politico New York. The corporation would use resources and staff from Amtrak, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the s

Hotline #923

All Aboard Florida secured approval to sell $1.75 billion in municipal bonds from the Florida Development Finance Corporation (FDFC) on August 5. The proceeds of the bond issuance will help finance creation of a $2.5 billion privately-run rail corridor that will connect communities between Miami and Orlando with frequent, fast train service. All Aboard president Michael Reininger was on hand to speak about the huge economic boost the service would bring to Florida. The company is investing $

Hotline #922

It was a busy July for transportation in Washington, D.C., and your NARP leadership and staff have been working hard to make sure the voices of America’s passengers are being heard on the Hill. The U.S. Senate was just able to beat a July 31st deadline to pass a long-term transportation bill on July 30 by a vote of 65 to 34. The Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act includes a four-year passenger rail title, creating a truly intermodal surface transportation

Hotline #921

The debate between House and Senate leaders on the right transportation bill continues and, with the July 31 deadline for the expiration of the highway and mass transit trust fund looming, legislators are starting to feel the pressure. Senate Republican leadership have been pushing a comprehensive six-year transportation bill that provides three-years of funding. The bill includes the Railroad Reform, Enhancement, and Efficiency Act of 2015 (R2E2), hailed by NARP as a game changer for Ameri

Hotline #920

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx speaking at the COMTO conference. The House of Representatives has passed a five-month transportation funding extension that would authorize federal spending on highway and rail transit projects through Dec. 18 and inject about $8.1 billion in general fund subsidies into the rapidly dwindling Highway Trust Fund, reports Reuters. The five-month measure will be offset across ten years, including extending higher airport security fees levi

Hotline #919

The Railroad Reform, Enhancement, and Efficiency Act—as approved by the Senate Commerce Committee—was included as a title in sections of the highway bill introduced on Thursday. A Commerce Committee staffer told NARP they were pleased that rail was included in the bill, calling that inclusion "a significant and symbolic step." NARP is asking members to send letters of support to Committee Chairman Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ranking Member Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) for including the rail