February 11, 2016

NLX may restore passenger train service to Twin Cities

Northern Lights Express, Logo

The Duluth News Tribune reported that within four years, the Northern Lights Express could be providing passenger rail service between the TwinPorts and the TwinCities (Minn.) four times per day.  Read the complete article here.

Cuomo orders heightened security for transit

Progressive Railroading reported that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order granting New Jersey and Connecticut law enforcement jurisdiction on New York’s public transportation services and facilities. These enhancements will allow regional governments to better protect public safety.  Read the complete article here.

Answers sought in Boston Red Line train incident


NECN reported that MassODOT investigators are looking at possible causes of a Boston Red Line train that departed the station and ran for nine minutes without an operator, yet with passengers on board. The incident occurred early morning on Thursday, December 10. The operator suffered minor injuries; no passengers were injured. Click here to read [...]

Reform rail/bus equipment purchases, boost jobs


$5.4 billion — that’s how much public transit agencies collectively spend on buses and trains each year. U.S. public transportation authorities are using taxpayers’ dollars to employ Americans. Well, sort of — there’s a lot of room for improvement. Thanks to weak laws and procurement rules, taxpayer dollars all too often reward low-road companies that [...]

Congress approves new cross-Hudson rail tunnel

amtrak car; amtrak

Politico New York reported that a Congressional transportation bill that includes provisions to build a new cross-Hudson rail tunnel gained velocity with approval from both the U.S Senate and the House. Read the entire article from Politico New York Dec. 4.

Iowans surveyed support expansion of passenger rail

Amtrak 054

A new survey reaffirms support for expanding passenger rail service in Iowa. More than half the participants — 56 percent — in a survey conducted by the SMART Transportation Division said passenger rail service in Iowa should increase. Another 77 percent said Amtrak should add service from Des Moines to Chicago, a concept that once [...]

SMART TD praises passage of FAST Act


On December 3, 2015, Congress passed H.R. 22, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST ACT) by overwhelming bipartisan votes of 83 to 16 and 359 to 65 in the Senate and House respectively. The legislation is the first long-term surface transportation reauthorization in a decade and provides funding and policy changes for our nation’s [...]

RRB releases 2016 tax rates


The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) released its annual tax rates, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, for the upcoming 2016 year.  The Tier II tax rates are determined annually from a tax rate schedule based on an average account benefits ratio reflecting railroad retirement fund levels. Employer tax rates can range from 8.2 percent to 22.1 percent. [...]

FAST Act strengthens rail safety

A congressional conference committee yesterday completed work on a five-year surface transportation bill that would strengthen tank-car safety standards, increase funding for transit and create a rail title that authorizes funding for Amtrak and intercity passenger-rail grants. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (H.R. 22) would fully fund a five-year $281 billion authorization for public transportation and highway [...]

Amtrak ridership and ticket revenue steady for 2015

Amtrak Logo

Investment in infrastructure critical for future growth of passenger rail WASHINGTON – Amtrak ridership and ticket revenue remained steady in its Fiscal Year ended Sept. 30, 2015, reflecting continued demand for passenger rail; however, significant and predictable investment is needed to ensure that intercity passenger rail will continue to deliver nationwide benefits including providing safe [...]