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

Hotline #762

New York police are reporting that a bomb may have caused an explosion below the World Trade Center today, collapsing the ceiling of the PATH rail station and perhaps killing two and injuring 300. Very little is known at this time. Congress is under growing pressure to cut spending, rather than go along with the Clinton economic stimulus package. Some columnists are attacking such items as the added $188 million for Amtrak capital and the long-term high-speed rail money. So tell your Senators a

Hotline #761

President Clinton's economic stimulus package was revealed last night in the State of the Union address and it had good news for supporters of balanced transportation. Also, last night's address was the first to mention "high-speed rail." Of $4.2 billion in added 1993 transportation funding, Amtrak would get $188 million, part of it for recalling the laid-off Beech Grove maintenance workers. Highways would get $3 billion more (their full ISTEA amount), but transit would get $750 million more, o

Hotline #760

"Time for Railroad Investment," by NARP Executive Director Ross Capon, is the leading opinion column in the February 11 Journal of Commerce. Capon urges President Clinton to make good on his campaign promise to improve America's passenger trains. For a copy of the column, send NARP a self-addressed, stamped envelope. President Clinton is to address Congress on February 17, unveiling his short-term jobs stimulus package. Some reports suggest he will include full funding of ISTEA and about $50 mi

Hotline #759

Congress is on recess until February 16, perhaps a good time to remind your legislators that you support a gas tax with a penny for Amtrak and that you want Amtrak included in any economic stimulus package. DOT Secretary Federico Pena told the nation's governors on February 2 that he has put Amtrak "on the table," but he won't know if Amtrak is in President Clinton's package until it is unveiled on February 17. The 1994 budget will be unveiled in March. Senator Lautenberg's transportation suppl

Hotline #758

Senate Transportation Appropriations Chairman Frank Lautenberg (D.-N.J.) this week unveiled his $6.7-billion supplemental transportation funding bill for 1993. He said it would create 300,000 jobs this year. He has $2.9 billion for highways, $1.9 billion for airports, $1.4 billion for transit, and a healthy $320 million for Amtrak capital and $220 million for the Northeast Corridor -- beyond existing fiscal 1993 appropriations. Lautenberg plans to introduce the bill soon. House Public Works Cha

Hotline #757

Two South Shore commuter trains collided the morning of January 18 at Gary, Ind., killing seven passengers and injuring 69. The trains collided at the end of a stretch of gantlet track that passes over a narrow 1908 bridge over Conrail's former Fort Wayne line. A gantlet track occurs where a double track narrows down by overlapping the tracks, rather than using switches and a single track. There are signals at both ends of the South Shore gantlet. Both engineers said they had green signals, but

Hotline #756

Massachusetts Gov. William Weld said yesterday that he is "in full support" of the Boston rail link. Referring to the FTA study now underway, he said, "If that rail link can be built within the confines of the Central Artery project, I think that would be the way to go, to get it done as quickly as possible." State DOT secretary James Kerasiotes told the Boston Herald that the state has earmarked $500 million for the project. MBTA general manager Jack Haley told the Boston Globe, "If there was a

Hotline #755

DOT Secretary-nominee Federico Pena yesterday appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee for his confirmation hearing. Pena and most Senators stressed the need for increasing airport capacity, except for John Kerry (D.-Mass.). He told Pena that high-speed rail was a priority, including the Boston electrification project. Kerry said he hoped that President-elect Clinton would be able to ride the first electric train to Boston before his next election. In response, Pena referred to Clinton's st

Hotline #754-A

Due to severe weather this week, the Empire Builder missed many trips between Spokane and St. Paul. United Airlines waived its advance purchase requirements for round-trip discount tickets between the Empire Builder's six largest cities, if you have an Empire Builder ticket or a receipt that you request when Amtrak refunds your ticket. Amtrak is bussing passengers from Whitefish to Spokane today and tomorrow. It now appears that trips originating in Chicago and the Northwest on January 3 will ru

Hotline #754

Alabama Governor Hunt will meet with members of his staff on January 8 to discuss funding of Amtrak's Gulf Breeze -- just two days before Amtrak's planned discontinuance of the train. Amtrak announced last week that it would end the Birmingham-Mobile service because the state had not paid any 403(b) money since its old contract with Amtrak ended in October. Amtrak said that it would bus people with previous Gulf Breeze reservations, January 10-31, but there remains hope that the state can act ne