The history of American passenger railroading has been filled with a lot of ideas and, yes, even failed attempts. Consider the futuristic Aerotrain, Talgo, and Train X, or conventional trains like the Golden Rocket, Atlantic City Express, American European Express, Louisville Auto Train and The Aces. Ultimately they were unsuccessful and disappointments at best or in the case of the former stillborn at worst. The old adage that “timing is everything” might have a ring of truth to some of the efforts coupled with the twin challenges of finance and politics. Believing that one should not continue to hit one’s head against the wall, advocates of enhanced American intercity rail have come to accept failure, lethargy and infighting as the norm. A certain fatigue has set in, the case of the inability to resurrect a full route Sunset Limited, the Pioneer and the Montrealer comes to mind. Further insidious examples include two attempts to bring high-speed rail to Florida, and the…
The Federal Transit Administration published federal policy guidance which, in conjunction with the final rule FTA published in January, 2013, outlines the details of the new, streamlined evaluation and rating process for New and Small Starts projects under Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). Additionally, FTA has posted updated reporting instructions and forms for the new process, available on FTA's website here.
DC.StreetsBlog.org described the day's fireworks with the headline "Amtrak Foe Mica Meets His Match in John Robert Smith." Streetsblog's Capitol Hill editor Tanya Snyder offered a detailed summary of the exchange between Smith and MIca, the "self-appointed Amtrak bully-in-chief."
Reconnecting America President & CEO John Robert Smith has been asked to testify at a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Railsroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials. The title of the hearing is "The Role of Innovative Finance in Intercity Passenger Rail." A former mayor of Meridian, Miss., and former chairman of the Amtrak board, Smith has been an longtime proponent on investment in transportation infrastructure and, in particular, intertcity rail.
Chairman Denham, Ranking Member Brown, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I am John Robert Smith, Co-Chair of Transportation for America, the country’s broadest and most diverse transportation coalition. Our members hail from the fields of transportation, housing, environment, public health, real estate, safety, and social equity, representing more than 500 different organizations. I am also the President and CEO of Reconnecting America, a national nonprofit that integrates transportation and community development. Reconnecting America is the managing partner of the Center for Transit-Oriented Development, which conducts research and promotes best practices in development along transit lines.
I would like to thank the Subcommittee for holding this hearing on the role of innovative finance in intercity passenger rail. Functional, safe, and efficient transportation systems are one of the cornerstones upon which this…
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