January 3, 2019 – All 41 railroads with positive train control (PTC) requirements submitted by Dec. 31, 2018 documentation claiming they fully implemented PTC or else qualified for an “alternative schedule,” the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced on New Year’s Eve.
Eno Transportation Weekly
December 21, 2018 – A $99.2 billion package of year-end tax reductions passed the House of Representatives last night by a party-line roll call vote of 220 to 183. But the legislation (text here) does not appear to be close to the votes needed for Senate consideration, especially this late in the session, so elements of the proposal will have to be brought up again after the 116th Congress takes office on January 3.
December 6, 2018 – President Trump on December 4 announced his intent to nominate two persons to fill slots on the three-member Railroad Retirement Board.
November 30, 2018 – The House of Representatives was supposed to consider a $54 billion tax bill today, and even adopted a special rule from the Rules Committee yesterday allowing the bill to come forward, but late last night the bill was pulled from the House schedule.
November 16, 2018 – Yesterday, the California State Auditor released a new report critical of the state’s high-speed rail project.
October 22, 2018 – Chinese-backed companies are targeting U.S. freight rail car manufacturing, and their market dominance would threaten America’s economic and national security, according to a report released Monday.
October 3, 2018 – Three months from the Dec. 31 deadline, New Jersey Transit told the Senate Commerce Committee at a hearing yesterday that it is “working diligently” to catch up on installation and qualify for an alternative schedule under the positive train control (PTC) law.
September 14, 2018 – As the Dec. 31 deadline to fully implement positive train control (PTC) or else qualify for an alternative schedule approaches, railroads and regulators are already turning towards challenges that will remain after 2018.
September 14, 2018 – House and Senate negotiators on a package of four fiscal 2019 appropriations bills, including the Transportation-HUD bill, met yesterday but were unable to complete negotiations, citing numerous policy provisions still in disagreement. It now appears likely that Department of Transportation programs will be funded starting October 1 by a short-term continuing resolution (introduced yesterday), at least for a while.
August 24, 2018 – This week, the Federal Railroad Administration announced the recipients of $203.7 million in fiscal year 2018 grants to railroads for the installation of positive train control (PTC) technology ahead of a looming December 31 deadline. At the same time, FRA released the PTC implementation progress reports of all railroads as of June 30, which showed most railroads making significant progress.
August 16, 2018 – Five years after labor disputes out West grinded operations at 29 ports to a halt, federal focus on freight transportation seems to be moving toward intermodal connectors and the infrastructure that moves freight out of the port and across the country.
August 16, 2018 – On August 9, the House Railroads Subcommittee went to Sacramento for a field hearing on the California high-speed rail project.
August 1, 2018 – The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved by voice vote today several items including a bill to establish a new port improvement grant program, a bill to criminalize attacks on interstate passenger rail crews, and another nominee for a seat on the Surface Transportation Board.
July 27, 2018 – On Thursday morning, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation considered presidential nominees Rick Dearborn for the Amtrak Board of Directors and Martin Oberman for the Surface Transportation Board, for two unfilled rail transportation board seats.
July 25, 2018 – Last Friday, a federal appeals court issued a new ruling in the seemingly never-ending saga of the railroad industry’s legal fight against metrics for on-time performance of Amtrak trains developed in 2009 by the Federal Railroad Administration and by Amtrak itself.
July 20, 2018 – This week, the Federal Railroad Administration issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity for $318 million in railroad grant funding under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program.
July 6, 2018 – The White House announced last night that President Trump will nominate Martin Oberman of Chicago to be a member of the railroad-regulating Surface Transportation Board.
June 21, 2018 – This week, President Trump made his third nomination for the Amtrak Board of Directors. And closer analysis reveals that a combination of past inaction and luck of the draw means that Trump could fill seven of the eight slots on the Amtrak Board by next year – if the Senate plays along.
May 17, 2018 – On Monday, Eno released a new report, Tools for a Smoother Ride: Managing Rail Assets and Leveraging Competition, which outlines the reforms needed to bring our rail systems into a state of good repair. The report’s recommendations include five steps that agencies and governments can take to reform and modernize how the industry approaches maintaining rail systems.
April 19, 2018 – The House Subcommittee on Government Operations, held a hearing today to examine All Aboard Florida’s (AAF) use of private activity bonds (PABs) to help finance the first and second phases of Brightline, its new Florida-based passenger rail system.