• The big ax just fell. Long distance to 3x/week.

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by lordsigma12345
 
I don’t see it getting stricken but we’ll see - compared to other things in the bill it’s likely not all that controversial. There is at least one Republican senator that likely would vote against removing that funding via amendment - Steve Daines from Montana - he’s a big Empire Builder supporter along with Tester.
  by Pensyfan19
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:20 am Apparently, the House has passed the legislation enabling restoration of pre-existing Daily LD service.

The stand alone Tester Bill has been introduced in the Senate.

Now let's see these provisions survive the reconciliation process.

No opinions from me; just "we report, you decide".
As my 1000th comment on railroad.net, I would like to say, HOORAY!!!

Great to see that Amtrak will be restoring their LDs to daily service sometime soon instead of quietly killing them off.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Pennsy, I ask you respect that some here hold differing thoughts.

Further, after the motion made by Sen. Johnson (R-WI) that the entire 600 page American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 be read aloud from the Senate Floor, was anyone awake when Sec 7005 (c) 1 was read?
  by Pensyfan19
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Fri Mar 05, 2021 7:40 am Mr. Pennsy, I ask you respect that some here hold differing thoughts.

Further, after the motion made by Sen. Johnson (R-WI) that the entire 600 page American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 be read aloud from the Senate Floor, was anyone awake when Sec 7005 (c) 1 was read?
I understand. I'm just happy to hear that Amtrak will keep their word on restoring daily LD Service and hopefully continue to develop them despite many speculating the end of LD service as a whole and using the pandemic as an excuse to do so.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
As of a few moments ago watching CSPAN-2, it appears the Senate opposition tactic is to pull provisions, such as the $15/hr minimum wage, out and into separate legislation that would require 60 votes. Under current rules, only certain legislation, which falls under reconciliation, can pass with 51 votes.

Since restoring train frequency, as distinct from appropriating funds, could be considered away from the legislative intent, I must question if the train frequency will stand.

The Class I industry has lobbyists ready to point this out to Senators - all this assuming that they welcome the relief from having Amtrak trains interfere with Precision Railroading practices.

Finally, let it be noted with "Demlican" Sen. Manchin (?-WV), other non-rail "pet provisions" could find themselves heaved.
  by TurningOfTheWheel
 
Sinema (AZ) is another hurdle for the Democrats, though as a first-term Senator she doesn't yet have the same reputation as Manchin of making the Ds' basic legislative priorities into an unnecessary headache.

I like to think the frequencies will be restored sooner rather than later, but who knows what they'll pick out of the relief bill to stand on its own.
  by lordsigma12345
 
So far one amendment that involves Amtrak was brought to the floor - it cut the Northeast Corridor funding in the bill and redirected it to the Coast Guard - there were a few pro Amtrak republicans I was surprised voted for it - although it appeared to carefully avoid the Long Distance and State Supported funding and only target the NEC money - which of course mainly involves democratic northeast states. One Republican senator, Moran, who is a big Southwest Chief guy, voted with the Democrats against this one - it did not pass.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
The Washington Post; courtesy of Microsoft News reports there is $200M in the Bill, ARPA21, for Amtrak. However, I would think that amount is simply needed to "gas 'em up and pay the driver" and not to some train frequency increase.

But let's see the legislation passed and on Joe's desk over at 1600, before "excitement and jubilation" from our LD advocates around here.
  by lordsigma12345
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sat Mar 06, 2021 7:36 am The Washington Post; courtesy of Microsoft News reports there is $200M in the Bill, ARPA21, for Amtrak. However, I would think that amount is simply needed to "gas 'em up and pay the driver" and not to some train frequency increase.

But let's see the legislation passed and on Joe's desk over at 1600, before "excitement and jubilation" from our LD advocates around here.
Mr Norman here is the current text being considered in the senate refer to Schumer amendment 891, a couple of amendments have passed to Schumer’s amendment but none have to do with Amtrak so the text of 891 should be current:

https://www.congress.gov/congressional- ... le/S1128-1

The $200 million the Washington post referred to is additional funding the Senate added on top of what the House had appropriated so Amtrak actually gets more in this version - I suspect most or all goes to the northeast corridor to avoid them having to dig into NEC capital money in order to deal with the operating loss situation.

I myself am not celebrating yet there as there are still more amendments to come although one Amtrak amendment was defeated with Moran joining democrats and assumingly he would vote no on any other Amtrak cutting amendments. Additionally the Republicans are down one as Sullivan (Alaska) had to return home for a family emergency. But because of amendments - this has to go back to the house and it’s probably not a 100% guarantee that Democrats will be able to pass it without further amendments with their thin majority - some more progressive Dems may balk at some of the reductions in the unemployment insurance and stimulus checks made. If the house makes any changes whatsoever then it once again has to go back to the Senate. Personally I think the biggest threat to the Amtrak provisions are the entire Bill getting derailed as opposed to the Amtrak provisions getting removed or modified.
  by lordsigma12345
 
Further clarification the senate version gives the NEC $970,388,160 and NN $729,611,840.
So the NEC got $150 million of the 200 and the national network got the other $50 million.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Lest we forget, Mr. Lord; former President Trump was in favor of additional stimulus legislation. Lest we further note, he appears to remain the titular head of the Republican party.

Something will come out of the Senate, and since the House also wants it as well, the differences will be resolved in Committee; the emerging Bill will be passed by voice vote in both Chambers, and it on its way Westward on Penn to Joe. Safe assumption what he will do with whatever he gets.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
The Senate has now passed the "Stimulus Bill":

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/06/us/p ... -plan.html

https://www.wsj.com/articles/senate-dem ... 1615012575

The Bill passed 50-49 as one Republican was absent.

However, there are differences between the Senate and House Bills, so there must be a Joint Committee to address such. Safe assumption once the Committee resolves the differences, the unified Bill will pass both Chambers by voice vote.

Then "Westward Ho" on Pennsylvania Ave. to the White House and Joe.

Not surprisingly, no coverage in either paper regarding the LD frequency provisions contained within the House Bill. I think inclusion of such directing a Federal agency to "do something" would fall outside "reconciliation" and force the Senate Bill to have 60 votes for passage.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Local NBC News reports "most Amendments failed". If the train frequency provisions survived, I think "it's a miracle".

Stay tuned; if Obama era past practice stands, the White House site will post the Act after enactment. From the "model" provided by the House Bill posted earlier in the topic, it should be easy to locate the provisions, if they survived.
  by lordsigma12345
 
The provisions were in the senate version being considered in amendment 891 with the only difference being there was 150 million extra for the corridor and 50 million extra for the national network - and no amendments brought to the floor addressed the long distance Language I followed it pretty closely - as I said earlier the closest thing was an amendment that would have zeroed out the northeast corridor grant and redirect it to the coast guard, it left the national network funding alone but didn’t pass anyway. We should see the final version soon of what the senate passed - there was an additional floor amendment to deal with extraneous things the parliamentarian identified so we’ll see what’s left after that - but the key thing is the money is there. The provision is simply an instruction on how the appropriation should be spent (at least this much spent on restoring long distance service and another line says at least this must be on recalling furloughed employees) which I don’t think is all that unordinary - appropriation bills are littered with other such instructions - even Amtrak has others for instance it limits how much of their grants can be spent on things like employee overtime.

The senator that offered the amendment did not have kind things to say about the northeast corridor referring to it as a wasteful railroad (and Amtrak in general) but the specific amendment only attacked the NEC funding.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
In short, Mr. Lord, "we're right back where we started from".

Amtrak is of course free to restore the frequencies, as the contract with the roads, based on how they were "back in my day", state how many a day they are free to operate.

But as I noted earlier, I would think Amtrak is happy to have the extra loot, but first come is "buying the gas and paying the driver".

Another thing to consider that much of the stored equipment no longer has a good COTS air brake date. If there were to be a train frequency increase, those "dates" would need to be "brought up to snuff". I defer to our mechanical types around here to "quote" the going rate for such.
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