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Eno Transportation Weekly

Category: FRA

Court Rulings May Delay California High Speed Rail

August 4, 2017 – A pair of recent court rulings in the last eight days have opened the way for numerous lawsuits against the California high-speed rail project under the auspices of the famously lawsuit-friendly California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Senate Holds Hearing on FRA, MARAD Nominees

July 28, 2017 – The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on July 26 held a hearing on multiple pending nominations, including Ronald Batory to head the Federal Railroad Administration and Mark Buzby to head the Maritime Administration.

Amtrak Releases Corrected 5-Year Financial Plan

July 17, 2017 – As noted in last week’s ETW, Amtrak has released its own five-year business plan and financial forecast. The original version of the plan (preserved here for posterity) had inaccurate tables in the back of the report relating to route-by-route ridership and financial forecasts. Amtrak has now released a corrected version of the document.

What Is the “Gateway Program”?

June 30, 2017 – The Gateway Program is a $24 billion portfolio of rail projects in New York and New Jersey, centered around a new tunnel between Secaucus Junction and Penn Station.

Administration Proposes Amtrak, Other Rail Grant Cuts

May 25, 2017 – The FY 2018 budget request from the Trump Administration calls for steep cuts in federal grants to Amtrak, with the intent to eliminate federal support for Amtrak’s long-distance routes. The budget would also reduce support for new intercity rail grant programs created by the FAST Act of 2015 below levels appropriated earlier this month in the 2017 omnibus appropriations law.

House T&I Approves Bill Repealing MPO Consolidation Rule

March 29, 2017 – This morning, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a bill (H.R. 1346) repealing the Obama Administration’s December 2016 rule requiring metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to consolidate across state lines. The panel also approved several other measures, including bills to recodify Coast Guard statutes and to require Congress be notified of ongoing railroad safety audits.

Amtrak Secures $2.45B RRIF Loan for New Acela Trainsets

August 31, 2016 – Vice President Biden announced last week that the Federal Railroad Administration will loan Amtrak $2.45 billion to purchase 28 new trainsets for Northeast Corridor Acela service and to make upgrades to Washington Union Station, Moynihan Station New York, and other NEC facilities.

FRA Awards $25M in PTC Grants, Releases PTC Status Report

August 17, 2016 – The Federal Railroad Administration has selected the recipients of $25 million in grants for positive train control (PTC) implementation provided by Congress for fiscal 2016 and has updated its estimates of when railroads will meet PTC implementation deadlines.

Projected Finish Date of First California HSR Leg Stretched to 2022

May 20, 2016 – The Federal Railroad Administration formally admitted on May 18 that the first phase of the beleaguered California high speed rail project, between Merced and Bakersfield, won’t be completed until 2022, not 2018 as the FRA had previously been maintaining.

California High-Speed Rail Project Changes Direction, Wants $5.2B RRIF Loan

The troubled California high-speed rail project last week released a new business plan that contained a new cost estimate and a new funding strategy that were in turn predicated on a new direction for the initial operating segment, which is now proposed to run from San Jose to just north of Bakersfield instead of from the Merced area to the San Fernando Valley. The draft 2016 plan assumes a total cost of $64.2 billion instead of the $67.6 billion in the 2014 business plan.

CBO Predicts $2.5B in ARRA High-Speed Rail Money Will Evaporate, Unspent

February 5, 2016 – Buried in the supporting information for the Congressional Budget Office’s new Budget and Economic Outlook report last week was a prediction that $2.5 billion of the $8.0 billion provided by the 2009 ARRA economic stimulus law for high-speed and intercity passenger rail development will evaporate, unspent, on October 1, 2017, due largely to the slow pace of the California high-speed rail project.