NY&LB wrote:Not hard to find the statutes:
Title 49 U.S. Code § 24306 - Mail, express, and auto-ferry transportation
(a)Actions To Increase Revenues.—
Amtrak shall take necessary action to increase its revenues from the transportation of mail and express. To increase its revenues, Amtrak may provide auto-ferry transportation as part of the basic passenger transportation authorized by this part.
Title 49 U.S. Code § 24305 - General authority
(c)Miscellaneous Authority.—Amtrak may—
(1) make and carry out appropriate agreements;
(2) transport mail and express and shall use all feasible methods to obtain the bulk mail business of the United States Postal Service;
(3) improve its reservation system and advertising;
(4) provide food and beverage services on its trains only if revenues from the services each year at least equal the cost of providing the services;
(5) conduct research, development, and demonstration programs related to the mission of Amtrak; and
(6) buy or lease rail rolling stock and develop and demonstrate improved rolling stock.
I am not a lawyer but mail and express seem OK;
You're absolutely right, with the caveat: the railroad will do what it wants to some extent. Clearly food service (#4) has never broken even. You could also argue that #1, make and carry out appropriate agreements, has not been carried out. If it had, wouldn't the trackage rights be market rate? Appropriate agreements wouldn't result in habitual lateness on host roads. Also, #6, demonstrate improved rolling stock, is very tenuous. By common sense measure, they don't replace rolling stock often enough and the replacements are generally late, over-budget, and arguably not improved.
The long and short of it is that Amtrak has a slew of lawyers and professional managers and accountants that are paid to argue this stuff all day, and Dutch is not one of them.