Investment and improvement law for rail passenger transport 2008 (2023)

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Surface Transport Authority, DOT.

Notice of Public Hearing.

The Surface Transportation Board will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, February 11, 2009, at 10:00 am at its headquarters in Washington, DC. The purpose of the public hearing will allow interested persons to comment on the Board's new responsibilities in the recently passed Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act 2008 (Bar. L. 110-432) and thus support the board in the effective implementation of these important new legal provisions.

The public hearing will be held on Wednesday, February 11, 2009. Anyone wishing to speak at the hearing must submit a written letter of intent to appear before the council, specifying the party, proposed speaker and desired time. as soon as possible, but no later than January 28, 2009. Each speaker must also submit their written testimony in the same document to the Board. Written submissions from interested parties who do not wish to attend the hearing must also be submitted by January 28, 2009.


All Letters of Intent to Participate and testimonials may be submitted via the Board's electronic filing or in a traditional paper format. Anyone using electronic filing must attach a document and follow the Chamber's guidelines link “E-FILING”. Anyone submitting a file in traditional paper format must send one original and 10 copies of the file to: Surface Transportation Board, Attn: STB Ex Parte No. 683, 395 E Street, SW., Washington, DC 20423-0001.

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Timothy Strafford, (202) 245-0356. [Assistance for the hearing impaired is available through the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at: (800) 877-8339.]

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On 16 October 2008, the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act 2008 came into effect. The law strengthens the council's role vis-à-vis the National Passenger Rail Corporation (Amtrak) and commuter rail operators. The Board is holding this public hearing to provide interested parties with an opportunity to comment on the Board's new responsibilities and to advise the Board on how to implement them effectively. While interested persons are welcome to comment on any aspect of the law that affects the Board, the Board is particularly interested in the following areas.

Section 207 directs the Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak, in consultation with the Board and others, to establish standards and metrics to measure the performance and quality of service of intercity passenger trains. § 213 changes49 USC 24308ForStart printed page 79977authorizes the Board of Directors to investigate, under certain circumstances, Amtrak's failure to meet the on-time performance standards or service quality standards established pursuant to Section 207, the Board will initiate such an investigation to determine whether, and in what extent, delays or failure to meet minimum standards are due to causes which could reasonably be dealt with by any rail company on whose tracks the intercity passenger train operates or which could be adequately dealt with by Amtrak or other intercity passenger train operators.”49 USC 24308(f)(1).

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If, after an investigation, the Board determines that delays or failure to meet minimum standards are due to a railroad not giving Amtrak preference over the carriage of freight, the Board may indemnify the host railroad, including by ordering any other relief to Amtrak as deemed appropriate.49 USC 24308(f)(2). In awarding damages and enacting other remedies, the Board must consider the following factors: (1) the extent to which Amtrak suffers financial loss as a result of host railroad delays or failure to meet minimum standards; and (2) what reasonable actions would preclude future actions that could cause Amtrak to be delayed on the affected route. The bylaws direct the Board of Directors, in its sole discretion, to direct the receiving railroad company to pay damages to Amtrak or a company for which Amtrak operates intercity passenger services. Such damages are used for capital or operating expenses on routes where delays or failure to meet minimum standards result from a rail company's failure to give Amtrak priority over freight transportation.49 USC 24308(f)(3).

Section 401 provides for confidential, non-binding arbitration of certain access disputes between commuter rail providers and rail carriers that are subject to the jurisdiction of the Council pursuant to Chapter 105. Chapter 285 is added to Part E of Subtitle V of Title 49. Disputes between rail carriers and public transport authorities relating to the use of tracks or rights of way may be referred to the Council for arbitration in accordance with the Rail Charge Dispute Arbitration Procedure49 CFR 1109.4.49 USC 28505directs the board to issue rules and regulations necessary to administer chapter 285.

Section 217 provides for access to Amtrak equipment and services by a state that is willing or elects to select an entity other than Amtrak to provide the services necessary to operate an intercity passenger rail route as described in49 USC 24102(5)(D)or24702. The State may enter into an agreement with Amtrak to use Amtrak facilities and equipment or for Amtrak to provide services. If the parties cannot agree on the terms and the Board determines that access to Amtrak facilities or equipment or the provision of services by Amtrak is necessary to enforce this provision and that the operation of other Amtrak services will not be impaired , the Board of Directors shall, within 120 days of filing the Dispute, issue an order that Amtrak facilities and equipment be furnished and services rendered, and shall establish reasonable indemnification, liability and other terms and conditions for the use of the facilities, equipment and provision of the Services. Compensation, if any, will be determined in accordance with the methodology established pursuant to Section 209. Section 209 directs Amtrak and the states to establish a methodology that allocates to each route the costs incurred solely for the benefit of that route and a proportionate share, based on factors that reasonably reflect relative usage, of incurred costs created for the common benefit of more than one route. If Amtrak and the States do not develop and implement the required methodology within 2 years of the enactment date, Section 209(c) requires the Board to determine and implement an appropriate methodology.

Stakeholders are invited to comment on these provisions of the Act, the need for regulations or policies to implement them and what such regulations or policies should contain. It is the Board's objective to effectively implement the new provisionsPublic Law 110-432related to STB. Stakeholder contributions at this hearing will assist the Board in this important effort.

hearing date. The hearing will begin on Wednesday, February 11, 2009, at 10:00 am in the Hearing Room on the 1st floor of the Board of Directors' offices at 395 E Street, S.W. in Washington, DC and will continue, with brief interruptions if necessary, until all persons scheduled to speak have been heard.

Notice of Intention to Participate. Any person wishing to speak at the hearing must submit a letter of intent to appear to the Board of Directors, specifying the part, the proposed speaker and the desired time, as soon as possible, but no later than January 28, 2009.

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Transcription. Each speaker must submit their written statement, along with their letter of intent to attend (by January 28, 2009) to the Board of Directors. In addition, any interested person wishing to provide a written statement without attending the February 11 hearing must submit such statement by January 28, 2009.

Board announcements and live video available via the web. The decisions and communications of the Board of Directors, including this communication, are available on the Board of Directors website at This hearing will be available via live video streaming on the Council's website. To access the hearing, beginning February 11, 2009 at 10:00 am, click on the "Live Video" link under "Information Center" on the left side of the home page.

This measure will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment or the conservation of energy resources.

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Date: December 23, 2008.

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[FR Doc. E8-30911Submitted on 12/29/08; 8:45 am]

BILL CODE 4915-01-P

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What was the Rail passenger Service Act? ›

Fifty years ago today, President Nixon signed into law the Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-518), relieving the nation's railroads of the requirement that they continue passenger service and creating a new National Railroad Passenger Corporation to carry on that service starting in May 1971.

What does Priia stand for? ›

Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA)

How fast does the average passenger train go? ›

Their speed, however, will be limited by the complexities of the 457-mile route, which is old, curvy and carries a mix of freight, commuter and intercity trains. Most Amtrak trains travel between 110 mph to 145 mph in the corridor, depending on the track and proximity to stations.

What were the main reasons that rail passenger transportation declined? ›

The Decline of the American Passenger Railroad
  • With the advent of the automobile and airplane in post-WWII American life came the decline of the passenger railroad. ...
  • The advent of the automobile and the post-WWII suburb caused a similar decline in ridership on interurban rail.
Oct 23, 2018

Why doesn't the US have passenger rail? ›

There are many reasons why Americans don't ride the rails as often as their European cousins. Most obviously, America is bigger than most European countries. Outside the northeast corridor, the central Texas megalopolis, California and the eastern Midwest, density is sometimes too low to support intercity train travel.

How many miles can a train go per hour? ›

Federal regulators limit the speed of trains with respect to the signaling method used. Passenger trains are limited to 59 mph and freight trains to 49 mph on track without block signal systems.

What is the fastest passenger train? ›

1: Shanghai Maglev - 460 kph/286 mph (China)

The world's fastest public train is also unique – it's the only link in the world currently carrying passengers using magnetic levitation (Maglev) rather than conventional steel wheels on steel rails.

Do trains take longer than driving? ›

With high-speed rail, train travel is always faster than driving. In many cases, it's even faster than flying, once you factor in the whole air travel song-and-dance. And if you do need to catch a plane, trains make it easier to get to the airport.

What are the major problems faced by rail transport? ›

What are the problems faced by the Indian railway?
  • A. Ticketless travelling.
  • B. Damage and theft of railway property.
  • C. Unnecessary use of emergency chain.
  • D. Rough terrain.

What are the challenges faced by the rail transport? ›

The Indian railways face certain challenges like ticketless travelling by the passengers, damage or theft of railway property, and the inability to maintain the punctuality of trains. This leads to a significant loss of revenue by the railways. Q.

What type of failures occur in the rail? ›

Rail defects can be roughly categorized into abrasion (loss of material through friction), deformation, fatigue and machining errors. The maintenance procedure used – grinding or milling – depends not only on the type of defect, but also on its severity.

Who owns the US rail system? ›

U.S. railways are privately owned and operated, though the Consolidated Rail Corporation was established by the federal government and Amtrak uses public funds to subsidize privately owned intercity passenger trains.

Which state does not have rail? ›

Sikkim is the only Indian state which does not have a railway station.

Why shouldn t the US invest in high-speed rail? ›

No high-speed rail line will ever be built in the United States for such a low cost. High-speed rail is an obsolete technology because it requires expensive and dedicated infrastructure that will serve no purpose other than moving passengers who could more economically travel by highway or air.

What did the Pacific Railroad Act 1862 include? ›

The Pacific Railroad Act stated that the government would loan each company $16,000 per miles of track ($48,000 for mountain areas) and would terminate any right Plans Indians had to the land along the railroad.

What did the railway Act of 1862 do and why was it finally passed in the middle of the Civil War? ›

The Pacific Railway Act of 1862 is defined as ''a federal act passed during the Civil War that gave grants of land to railroad companies so they could build a transcontinental railroad throughout the United States. '' It took place from 1863 to 1869, and was revised in 1864.

What did the 1862 transcontinental railroad Act do? ›

The Pacific Railroad Act was a government scheme to encourage the building of transcontinental railroads to the west of America.

What caused the Railway Labor Act? ›

Congress enacted the RLA in 1926 in response to the nation's growing reliance on railroads and as part of a pattern of federal attempts at regulating labor relations in the industry.


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