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Text Version   RSS   Subscribe   Unsubscribe   Archive   Media Kit            April 01, 2015


 
The Mid-Week brief is an unfettered look at what the press is saying about passenger rail — if you see something you dislike, or know to be inaccurate, don't hesitate to reach out to those responsible for the article by using the comment board of a linked website, or emailing the publication directly.

Oregon Amtrak line between Eugene and PDX in danger
KOIN-TV
Amtrak service between Portland and Eugene, Oregon, could be in trouble due to a lack of funding. A public hearing was held in Salem recently to discuss a proposed budget for Amtrak's Cascades route that is millions of dollars short of what's needed to keep it running. "We're trying to do everything possible to not have this service lost," said Donald Leap, government affairs director with the Association of Oregon Rail and Transit Advocates. Amtrak's Cascades route carries the most passengers of any of the railroad's services outside of California and the Northeast Corridor.
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Things you should know about that high-speed rail proposal
Houston Chronicle
According to author Evan Michaelides: I am a believer in public transportation. I'm convinced that a well-designed transportation network can reduce the number of cars on the road, combat congestion, and generally improve the quality of life. When the first MetroRail project was presented to Houston voters over a decade ago, I supported it enthusiastically, and I've been pleased to see the system's recent expansion. I hope it goes to the airport someday. So when I first heard about the proposed high-speed rail project that would link Houston and Dallas, I was intrigued.
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Opinion: Michigan Congressional delegation votes for Amtrak train robbery
MLive
The Amtrak Office of Inspector General revealed that the passenger railroad's net operating loss for last year was $214 million. But this is what passes for "good news" on the taxpayer choo-choo train, which handed out $11.2 million in incentive awards because employees kept 2014's gusher of government red ink to no worse than negative $305 million. For most of the last decade, Amtrak has reported losses between $350 million and $450 million per year. The official losses undercount the true level of taxpayer abuse.
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Kansas State researchers working on technology to improve train safety
The Topeka Capital-Journal
The technology exists to mount sensors on trains so they can scan rails for defects that could lead to derailments — but so far it only works if the train is moving about 1 mph. Researchers at Kansas State University have a $380,000 grant to try make that technology work at real-world train speeds, by developing a mounting system that would hold the sensor steady on a locomotive or train car.
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Another reason to love California high-speed rail: It's drought-friendly
CityLab
California's high-speed rail project has plenty of critics: nearly half the state, in fact, according to last year's polls. Its $68 billion price tag has most people anxious in the shadow of the state's foreboding "wall of debt." Others are baffled by the starting segment in the San Joaquin Valley, between Madera and Fresno, calling it a "train to nowhere." And some are upset that the mega-project is "drought intolerant."
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Amtrak labeled one of 'America's Best Employers'
The Hill
Amtrak has been named a "top employer" among U.S. companies by Forbes magazine. The rail company was ranked number 401 out of 500 on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers" for 2015. Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman said the recognition is a reflection of the company's corporate culture. “We want working at Amtrak to be a fulfilling experience where employees find a safe workplace, challenging and rewarding opportunities, enjoy respect among colleagues, competitive pay and benefits and a performance-oriented culture," Boardman said in a statement.
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All Aboard Florida closer to getting $1.75 billion in tax exempt bonds
Palm Beach Post
All Aboard Florida is closer to getting the money it needs to finish its Miami-to-Orlando passenger rail after Friday appointments made to a board charged with deciding whether it will receive $1.75 billion in tax exempt bonds. The Florida Development Finance Corp. board, whose members are chosen by Gov. Rick Scott, has been paralyzed for months after its chairman resigned as of Jan. 1 and the only remaining member's term had expired.
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Chugging ahead on the Chief
The Pueblo Chieftain
There is reason to be cautiously optimistic that rail service through Kansas, Colorado and northern New Mexico could stay put. "We are making progress," Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told The Chieftain recently, "but we have not yet resolved the funding issue from Albuquerque to Las Animas. There is not a solid plan in place." And local leaders who spearhead a coalition to preserve passenger service on the Southwest Chief have vowed to continue the funding fight in Colorado.
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Florida Amtrak station renovation is coming along nicely
Bungalower
The Amtrak Station was built in 1926 and has been an iconic Orlando, Florida, building ever since. Over recent years the station fell into disrepair — with a leaky roof, cracked walls and moldy stucco. Last August the city and state announced a $2.1 million makeover of the historic building, and it's well on its way to being restored to its former glory.
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Sound Transit to convince legislature to allow $15 billion ballot measure
My Northwest
Sound Transit hopes area voters will approve a new $15 billion tax package next year. But the agency can't even ask until the Washington state Legislature gives its approval, and so far, there's plenty of resistance. The Sound Transit 3 ballot measure would fund a wide variety of future projects. Planners are just starting to craft the potential package, but the key component would be the expansion of light rail extending from Tacoma all the way to Everett. The state Senate granted approval for Sound Transit to seek $11.2 billion in new taxes in its recently passed transportation bill.
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Amtrak waiting on Illinois; won't declare Rockford project dead
WREX-TV
Without state funding, an Amtrak official tells it will not be able to bring service to Rockford, Illinois. This comes on the heels of a statement last week by the head of IDOT who says funding is still up in the air. Today in Springfield, State Rep. John Cabello pressed an Amtrak official for a more definitive answer. "He goes, at this point, Amtrak is frozen. The state froze money and they aren't doing anything, so we have frozen everything as well. I said, 'Sir, you did not answer my question.' I said 'Is the train coming to Rockford?' And he said 'No,'" said Cabello.
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Hotline Midweek Brief
National Association of Railroad Passengers
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