Washington Update

Washington Update

Sep 01

The Southwest Chief TIGER VIII grant application filed by the City of Lamar was not successful but the on-line communities-with two successful grants under their belts-are not giving up.  Click here for a table listing approved grants, alphabetically by state, with clickable links to information about each. Rail did not fare so well in this round, but there were several rail projects including these:

  • $14m — Springfield IL Rail Relocation projects
  • $13.1m — Construction of Pawtucket/Central Falls commuter rail station
  • $10m — Natchez Railway improvements including rehabilitation of five “structurally deficient” truss bridges.
  • $9.8m — Rural freight rail project in the Carolinas
  • $8.7m — Redlands Passenger Rail Project in San Bernardino County

Recent Hill meetings to introduce AAPRCO were in these offices:

  • Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
  • Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
  • Rep. David Young (R-IA)
  • Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)
  • Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA-44, San Pedro), and
  • Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA-10, Modesto, chairman, Railroads Subcommittee)

Priority has been given to members of the relevant appropriations and authorizing subcommittees, but suggestions of other legislators would be welcomed, such as those who have constituents who are interested private car owners.  Such political contacts are the responsibility of all AAPRCO Directors and members.  Please tell AAPRCO-Ross Capon, the President or the Executive Director– of any politicians that you support who could be helpful to AAPRCO and if you would be willing to support a meeting with them in DC or elsewhere.

Vice-President Joe Biden announced a $2.45 billion RRIF loan for Amtrak’s new high-speed train-sets, which CNN said was the largest-ever USDOT loan. Biden made the announcement August 26 in Wilmington at the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Train Station.  Some key Biden quotes [emphasis added]: “Why in this country are we so boneheaded to not understand the essential value of a rail system that is modern throughout the whole country? Why do we argue about whether or not it makes sense. … I only [ride the train] once a week now.  Secret Service here, it drives them crazy. They want me to fly.”

Click here for Alstom’s August 26 release.  From the release:  “The train ordered by Amtrak is Avelia Liberty, the latest development of Alstom’s high-speed train range Avelia. The new trainset will be able to carry up to 33% more passengers than the current Acela trains. The trainset configuration includes an innovative compact power car and nine passenger cars, with the possibility of three more being added if demand grows. The train is capable of travelling at speeds up to 300 km/h (186 mph), but will initially operate at a maximum speed of 257 km/h (160 mph) based on NEC track speed limits. Additionally, each concentrated power car is equipped with Alstom’s pioneering Crash Energy Management (CEM) system. … In nearly 40 years, Alstom has sold more than 1,100 Avelia high speed trains around the world and equipped over 300 more with its technology. … Alstom’s Avelia high-speed trains have covered over 6.4 billion kilometres in 20 countries and transported 4 billion passengers.”