• 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
 
Though the most recent news seems to suggest this may be just a "clean non-controversial" CR until December 13 with what you suggest - just a continuation of basic funding. We'll then hopefully see a larger deal during the lame duck period where hopefully they will pass relief that deals with this so Amtrak can reverse the cuts maybe after the new year. The more I read there does not appear to be a leadership desire to make any waves before the election as bad as that could be for transit and airline workers facing massive layoffs and other segments of the economy that need relief. It would appear that the impending cuts are now unstoppable at least for the fall. Hopefully Amtrak has the cash on hand to operate with only level funding as they are planning until December and dont have to make even deeper cuts. Amtrak management has mentioned they need over a billion over their normal appropriation to do the current planned 3x a week and planned furloughs - hopefully they have enough cash to get through a CR period until they find out what they are going to get for the full FY21. Only level funding for the full fiscal year could result in the cancellations of all long distance trains except for the Auto Train as well as deep cuts to corridor service (including train offs on some corridors.)

Unfortunately the death of Justice Ginsburg complicates things as the process of replacing her on the court will steal a lot of attention in the Senate even though more COVID relief is probably a much more urgent matter than filling the vacancy.
  by STrRedWolf
 
I will not be surprised that it'll be CR'ed until January/Feburary, a new Congress comes in, and the deal is done there. I doubt transit in general can survive.
  by electricron
 
How much COVID relief funds should be spent on transit and Amtrak?
Amtrak wants an additional $2 to $3 billion. MTA (just NYC subways alone) wants $12 billion. Imagine the pressures the FTA and FRA are getting from everyone else. You either fund all of them, or none of them. States and cities and their agencies have the ability to borrow money just like the US government, I suggest they start.
  by STrRedWolf
 
electricron wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:06 am How much COVID relief funds should be spent on transit and Amtrak?
Amtrak wants an additional $2 to $3 billion. MTA (just NYC subways alone) wants $12 billion. Imagine the pressures the FTA and FRA are getting from everyone else. You either fund all of them, or none of them. States and cities and their agencies have the ability to borrow money just like the US government, I suggest they start.
Who said they haven't in the first place? A lot of the states already have borrowed or know how badly things go and are trying not to borrow. Many are already cutting services (MTA Maryland being one, several trains being cut or reduced).
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
In addition to selling bonds, states can raise fuel tax and highway tolls. The NJ Turnpike had an toll rate change
this month (the NJTA/Turnpike Authority subsidizes the state transportation funding from tolls).
  by rcthompson04
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:38 pm
electricron wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:06 am How much COVID relief funds should be spent on transit and Amtrak?
Amtrak wants an additional $2 to $3 billion. MTA (just NYC subways alone) wants $12 billion. Imagine the pressures the FTA and FRA are getting from everyone else. You either fund all of them, or none of them. States and cities and their agencies have the ability to borrow money just like the US government, I suggest they start.
Who said they haven't in the first place? A lot of the states already have borrowed or know how badly things go and are trying not to borrow. Many are already cutting services (MTA Maryland being one, several trains being cut or reduced).
If volumes are so low, it makes sense to cut services to cut loses and save equipment costs. Most commuter rail services should be running Saturday schedules if they have them.
  by wigwagfan
 
electricron wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:06 am Imagine the pressures the FTA and FRA are getting from everyone else. You either fund all of them, or none of them
And right here, is the problem with the federal government getting involved in things they should have never been involved with in the first place. Now that everyone has gotten used to getting Freddybux for basic day to day operations, everyone is in crisis mode having overextended their service far beyond what is sustainable.

How do you tell the rural transit agency in Montana that offers dial-a-ride service for the elderly to get to doctor's appointments that they aren't eligible for federal funds, but a big city transit agency gets money to build a light rail line that serves areas already well served by buses that are empty most of the time? How do you tell the suburbs they don't get their one measly bus line running once every 30-60 minutes, but the city core gets a bunch of empty streetcars to run around in circles? For, for that matter, the popular inner city bus line can't get funded despite being busy all day long, because the suburbs need a basic service despite it being empty?

Let's loop this around to Amtrak. Why are sleeping and dining cars a "necessity" for rural communities in North Dakota when I've got people living in tents around the corner from my house? Especially when for every Amtrak served community there's probably 20 non-served communities that are figuring out their own intercity travel needs without any help from One Mass Avenue NW?

It's the same question, year after year...only now, everyone's hurting. And we can either become the next Zimbabewe and print worthless money to kick the can down the road, or we can realize that we can't be all things to all people?
  by eolesen
 
Unfortunately, many rail and transit advocates have their heads in the sand about funding right now.

Federal assistance was OK for the immediate situation, but as painful as it might be for transit and transportation, it's no longer an emergency, it's the new reality.

Airlines are having to deal with it, as are intercity bus companies, Uber/Lyft, airport shuttles and taxi companies.

Demand isn't coming back soon, and supply needs to be reduced accordingly.
Last edited by eolesen on Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by David Benton
 
They still need money , even to reduce services. Redundancies , right sizing equipment etc , providing enhanced cleaning and protection for the "new reality", all extra costs with reduced income.
As for printing money, debt was growing before the covid crisis. at least interest rates are low.
  by eolesen
 
Guess it's time to lay off workers to only what's needed. It's not reasonable to always expect a Fed bailout every time a state or local government can't manage their own pocketbook.

Too many large transit agencies (MTA, CTA) do a horrible job of living to a budget while smaller ones who don't have a high profile Senator or Representative manage to do it right.
  by STrRedWolf
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:59 pm If volumes are so low, it makes sense to cut services to cut loses and save equipment costs. Most commuter rail services should be running Saturday schedules if they have them.
Volumes are... mixed.

Take MARC. The volumes are enough that it could normally run "R" (restricted) or even Saturday-plus-extras schedule. But due to current medical guidelines, they need to run near-normal schedules to be safe. Not good.

But take their parent, MTA Maryland. Bus service among their "core" network is heavy. They're now pulling from empty lines and cutting service. Some of them is intelligent but others, like killing transit between Baltimore and Annapolis, makes little sense. That is on top of repeated trimming and cutting over the decades. I keep thinking when I worked there, that MTA Maryland was starting to be so bare bones that it was missing limbs... and it was being heavily audited local, federal, and state!

There is an absolute minimum for running essential services. Disaster awaits those who try to cut below it.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
By now with only a week to go to, if you ask the advocacy community, this "doomsday" will occur. Even if a Continuing Resolution is enacted (it will be; neither Party wants THAT baggage essentially on Election Eve) who can reasonably expect there will be a line item within it to restore the LD frequencies?

95% of the voters are of the "Amtrak what's that" mindset. "Oh they run trains somewhere and they lose all kinds of money" is the answer you'd get in in, say, St. George's UT.

Really, 1900 heads getting whacked is pretty lenient when compared with the possible (probably not that bad) 30,000 air transport employees on the block.

Now I must say, I have to wonder about some of the airline whackings. I have a "fiftysomething" neighbor (could pass for 35) whose three girls have graduated (all Mizzou), but works "for the travel privileges" with a "big four". She is "streetside" public contact; she asked to "take leave for the duration" (no pay or health - buy it from her husband's employer, but travel). They said no, but yet they are whacking "planeside" Ground employees (and many Flight).
  by Pensyfan19
 
At this point, itś now a matter of how soon these LD services can be restored, although I am one who keeps hope in something until the very end. We should not give up on something just because it looks hopeless. There still is some time to persuade the government to pass this appropriations bill (which includes $26 Billion in funding for Amtrak, may I remind everyone).
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Pennsy, the abolishment notices have been posted, and the displacement process under the Agreements has been completed. The adversely affected employees that choose to stay on have now bumped the junior employees to the Street and RRUI effective Oct 1.

The roads have already adjusted their train schedules and MofW windows to reflect that Amtrak will no longer interfere with operations during those slots now vacated. You can be sure there isn't a Train Dispatcher, be they in Jax, Atl, FTW, OMA, or out on the line (not sure if NS has centralized their dispatching) that isn't saying "good riddance while we have it".

It would be too much to expect the "Genie can be put back in the bottle" over the next 144 hours.
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