Hotline

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

Hotline #676

All eyes now are on the House Public Works Committee in hopes the highway/transit bill they are now drafting will be as favorable for rail interests as S.1204 is. The Surface Transportation Subcommittee mark-up is now set for July 16, with full committee mark-up on July 18, but all important decisions are likely to have been made before the first mark-up. Public Works has yet to decide whether to follow S.1204's good example of making intercity passenger rail eligible for highway trust funds. Th

Hotline #674

The Senate approved S.1204, the Moynihan surface transportation bill, on a 91-7 vote on June 19. Many amendments, including provision of a watered-down national highway system and re-figuring of state allocations, were added to the bill last week, but the essence of what we were concerned about remained in the bill. That includes wide flexibility for a state to spend federal highway money on other transportation programs, including intercity passenger rail; a level playing field through uniform

Hotline #675

The House Public Works surface transportation bill is still being drafted within the Surface Transportation Subcommittee. Mark-up is expected no earlier than July 9, with Committee mark-up possibly the following week and House floor action the week after that. No one expects a House-Senate conference before the August recess. However, good things have been learned about the draft bill. The House bill will have the anti-big-truck language of the Senate bill. Also, it will have the Senate's level

Hotline #673-A

Despite debate extending over several days, the Senate still has not voted on Senator Moynihan's surface transportation bill, S.1204. However, the nucleus of the bill -- the flexibility and level-playing-field provisions -- still survives. Right now, the Senate is hearing debates on two amendments from Senator Graham (D.-Fla.). If the two amendments are tabled, we fully expect the full Senate to approve the Moynihan bill at some point after 7:35 pm. Because we expect the bill to pass, we will n

Hotline #673

Despite debate extending past midnight, the Senate still has not voted on Senator Moynihan's (D.-N.Y.) surface transportation bill, S.1204. However, the nucleus of the bill -- the flexibility and level-playing-field provisions -- still survives. Earlier this week, the Moynihan bill was challenged by a coalition of donor-state Senators led by Senator Warner (R.-Va.). Their bill contained none of the flexibility language and would have been very harmful. While that issue has not yet been resol

Hotline #672-B

Debate continues on S.1204, the Moynihan surface transportation bill, with a final vote expected for this evening. The great showdown has been between Senator Moynihan (D.-N.Y.) himself, whose bill does the most in terms of including passenger rail as an eligible trust fund program and a level playing field across all modes, and Senator Warner (R.-Va.), who is leading a coalition of Senators from Highway Trust Fund "donor states," which pay more in gas taxes than they get back in federal highway

Hotline #672-A

Debate began yesterday morning and still continues on S.1204, the Moynihan surface transportation bill. The great showdown has been between Senator Moynihan (D.-N.Y.) himself, whose bill does the most in terms of including passenger rail as an eligible trust fund program and a level playing field across all modes, and Senator Warner (R.-Va.), who is leading a coalition of Senators from Highway Trust Fund "donor states," which pay more in gas taxes than they get back in federal highway money. Th

Hotline #672

Through a technical procedure, the number of the Moynihan surface transportation bill is not S.965. It is now S.1204. It was discussed briefly on the Senate floor yesterday, but further action is postponed until the morning of June 11. The Moynihan bill is still upsetting Senators from the Highway Trust Fund "donor states." They would like to scrap the Moynihan bill and replace it with a bill of their own that resembles the Administration bill. That would be very bad. It is possible that a compr

Hotline #671

It looks like S.965, the Senate surface transportation bill, will be voted on by the full Senate the week of June 10. Despite the good results of the May 22 mark-up, pro-rail language is still not entirely out of danger. Senator Warner (R.-Va.) has threatened a floor fight because the bill doesn't help Highway Trust Fund "donor states" such as Virginia. Of course, the Administration is still opposed because it includes no expanded highway system, as their bill did. Transportation Secretary Skinn

Hotline #670

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee marked up S.965, the Moynihan surface transportation bill, on May 22, and reported it to the full Senate. The results were very good. The rail language was changed from just the word "rail" to "passenger rail," so it still includes Amtrak. However, the part allowing operating funding to come from the Highway Trust Fund was dropped, so now it is only capital money, but that is still very good. The bill still ignores the Administration's call fo