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

Hotline #750

New Viewliners are on the way after the Amtrak board's approval on December 2 of an order of 50 single-level sleeping cars from Morrison-Knudsen for about $100 million, with an option on 50 more sleepers. The cars will be delivered in 1995 from plants at Pullman, Ill., and Hornell, N.Y. Federal Railroad Administrator Gil Carmichael, commenting to the Amtrak board on reduced equipment overhauls in fiscal 1992 and 1993, said, "This worries me. This can't go on too long." Board member Paul Weyric

Hotline #748

DOT Secretary Andrew Card told Amtrak President Claytor that President Bush plans to fill the four Amtrak board vacancies that don't require Senate confirmation. Together with Wisconsin Governor Thompson, they would create a year-long, Bush-appointed majority on the Amtrak board and might hire Claytor's successor. But first they might have to fire the 80-year-old Claytor, who says he would not resign under such circumstances. House Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D.-Mich.) and Senator

Hotline #749

No company benefits from extended uncertainty about its future leadership, but that's just what Amtrak seems to be facing. It still looks like President Bush may make his four appointments to the Amtrak Board. That means the new Congress and President Clinton possibly could retaliate early next year by restructuring the board. That, in effect, would shorten the tenure of the new appointments and possibly that of any new president the board might have picked. We reported on November 20 that New

Hotline #747

During his campaign, President-elect Clinton supported full funding of ISTEA and spoke of a special $20-billion infrastructure program. Yesterday, he said he would "try to accelerate [that] in terms of road projects, water projects, other projects that are ... ready to go in the first year, with the commitment that I have to transfer defense cuts into domestic investment." Clinton transportation advisor Will Ris, meeting today with transit representatives, reaffirmed Clinton's commitment to ful

Hotline #746

Of the three presidential candidates, President-elect Clinton said the most about high-speed rail. He alone rode Amtrak and transit during the campaign year. NARP will give input as the transportation policy of the new administration develops. The next Congress will have new faces in key transportation positions. Rep. Bob Carr (D.-Mich.), who was narrowly re-elected, will be the new House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee chairman. He is most interested in aviation and is not known to

Hotline #745

The Amtrak board met October 28. No equipment orders were approved, but the following items were -- $7 million for improvements to Sunnyside Yard train servicing facilities; $9.6 million for retrofitting some Amfleet II, Horizon, and Superliner cars with retention toilets and for waste-handling trucks; a $9.4-million, five-year lease on luggage-rack movie screens for Silver Meteorand Silver Star coaches -- which Amtrak expects to more than recover; $35 million for heavy overhauls on certain cars

Hotline #744

The X2000 train set Amtrak imported from Sweden arrived in Dundalk, Md., earlier than previously expected, on October 20. Yesterday, the train was brought to Washington and will begin testing in November. Public rides may begin in January, but for now, when the train is not being tested, it will be kept on track 16 at Union Station. The X2000 is capable of providing electric train service at 150 mph on existing rights-of-way using active tilt mechanisms. Thus, it has an advantage over TGV in not

Hotline #743

Due to the large number of bills enacted in the final days before Congress adjourned, the Amtrak reauthorization bill has not yet arrived at the White House to be signed into law by President Bush. It should arrive in the next 7-10 days. Transportation Secretary Andrew Card announced yesterday the designation of a multi-state Midwest high-speed rail network, which hubs in Chicago and radiates out to Detroit, St. Louis, and Milwaukee. The Midwest network, whose funding totals $2.8 million, is th

Hotline #742

The staff conference discussions on H.R.4250, the Amtrak reauthorization bill, were completed October 3, with House approval on October 4 and Senate approval on October 7. It then went to the President for signature. H.R.4250 is valid for two years, instead of three as the Senate had wanted. It requires several studies, including for the market impact of Boston electrification, the trials of high-speed rail equipment across the country, and the takeover of the old post office across Eighth Aven

Hotline #741

The new fiscal year began yesterday. All programs for which there is no enacted appropriations bill are covered by a continuing resolution that extends their 1992-level funding through the end of October 5. Last night, the House and Senate both approved H.R.5518, the 1993 DOT appropriations bill, and it is being sent to the President for signature. He is expected to sign it. We are pleased to confirm that the Amtrak figures in H.R.5518 that were reported tentatively last week. Thanks to Sen. Fr