Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

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

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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

Postby Jeff Smith » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:39 pm

I mean, not for nothing, my first post sets out the ground rules!
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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics....

Postby John_Perkowski » Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:36 pm

SemperFidelis wrote:As a committed member of the Democratic Party I am obviously a little disappointed at the results of the election, but accept the results and look foreward to trying again in the future (General Wesley Clark 2020!).


Nice dream. The Prince of Darkness (I can remember when he jumped from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Irwin upon getting his 1st star in 1989) will be very long in the tooth by then. I also have no clue on his thoughts about domestic politics including transportation and Amtrak.
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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

Postby CarterB » Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:09 pm

I thought the moderator had shut off the politics not directly related to Amtrak?
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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

Postby Greg Moore » Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:57 pm

So now that the election is over, and we have a new candidate for SecTrans, and a President who ran on Infrastructure, my thought here in NYS is, I hope we're posed for an Amfleet I/II replacement procurement, perhaps with the presumptive Senate Minority Leader leading the way.
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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

Postby David Benton » Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:58 pm

But wheres the money going to come from? Given his spending promises add up to trillions and tax cuts add up to billions .
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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

Postby STrRedWolf » Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:21 pm

Some of the money will come back from the tax cuts, and some of it will be from lifting regulations.

Now, I'm not going to go deep into what I think about regulations (which is simply put "AUDIT AND REMOVE ONES WITH NO PURPOSE OR HISTORY"). Instead, let's follow what's happening right now. Another thread here has details on the FRA issuing draft rules changes to allow lighter European-style passenger cars on the lines w/o getting a waiver. That will save millions there for Amtrak et all in the future, when their next next generation of railcars comes into play. This means more operations cash for Amtrak, faster speeds on the line because fuel/power savings, and a possibility of reallocating funding...


...or paying people more, which bumps them up to a different tax bracket, they pay more taxes anyway because they have more money, and thus more funds go into the government.

Yeah, like the latter happens (see "Trickle down economics").
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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics....

Postby SouthernRailway » Fri Dec 02, 2016 5:01 am

deathtopumpkins wrote:
SouthernRailway wrote:It seems as though the Northeast [...] gives it the fewest tax dollars from those states' coffers.


I'm curious what you base this statement on.
Northeastern states contribute a LOT to Amtrak - CT and MA actually own parts of the corridor, and consistently fund improvements that also benefit their own services (MNRR & MBTA). They also fund non-NEC corridor services: ME funds the Downeaster with contribution from MA; VT funds the Vermonter with contribution from MA and CT, and the Ethan Allen with contribution from NY; NY funds the Empire Service; PA funds the Keystone and Pennsylvanian; VA funds the Lynchburger and Richmond/NPN/NFK service. In fact, in most of the Northeast, the only trains not directly funded by the states are the NEC trains, which turn an operating profit, and the long-distance trains which poke up here. And the only states that don't themselves directly fund trains are small ones (e.g. Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island) that fund commuter service instead

Now if I recall correctly, Amtrak's annual appropriation comes from general funds, meaning we can assume that each state's taxpayers pay in equally. This means that taxpayers in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and other states that don't have any long distance trains are paying for operations of long distance trains at the same proportion as states that do have long distance trains. And in fact, research shows that urbanized Northeastern states (along with the likes of Illinois and California) actually contribute more in federal taxes than makes it back to the states. By that measure Northeastern states pay more.

Now if we look at capital funding, that is already almost entirely paid for by states. The only reason Gateway is even a federal project is because it benefits numerous states, is a bit too large and complicated for a multi-state agency to try and organize, and shouldn't fall victim to one state's political maneuvering (e.g. one state blocking anything unless they get something special) - this is why we have the federal government, after all - to coordinate between states for the good of the whole country. Unfortunately this system is currently failing us, so maybe a regional multi-state agency could do a better job after all.


From my NY perspective:

NY State contributes $0 for Amtrak operations (NEC, Empire Service trains, etc.);
NY State contributed $0 for Obama's HSR program; and
NY State does own track, but those appropriations are for Metro-North, out of the MTA capital program.

I had forgotten about NY State's capital program for upstate NY track that Empire Service trains use, though (former CSX track).
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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

Postby deathtopumpkins » Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:50 pm

This is blatantly untrue though. NY State funds the Empire Service trains just like other states fund every other corridor. It's right there on the schedule:

This service (except for Trains 48 and 49) is supported by funds made
available by the New York State Department of Transportation.
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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

Postby SouthernRailway » Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:24 pm

New York State says differently:

https://www.dot.ny.gov/divisions/operat ... nys-amtrak

Just the Adirondack and Vermont trains are supported by NY, and they are only partially supported.
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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

Postby deathtopumpkins » Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:27 pm

From your own link:

Under the federal Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA, Public Law No. 110-432, Division B), among numerous other significant provisions, states now have to pay a portion of the costs (both operating and capital) of providing passenger service along certain Amtrak corridors (Section 209). In New York, this will include most Empire Service trains. The target date for this new and/or increased state financial responsibility for providing intrastate intercity passenger rail service was within 5 years of PRIIA enactment. PRIIA was enacted on October 16, 2008 and Section 209 went into effect on October 16, 2013. Since then, the annual New York State Budget has provided such funds, with the amount in the 2016-17 FY totaling $44.330M.


So there you have it, NY State is spending $44.33 million this year on the Empire service.
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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

Postby bdawe » Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:29 pm

it says at the bottom of that page that the State of New York provides capital and operating contributions to 'most Empire Service Trains' since 2013
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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

Postby Greg Moore » Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:58 pm

And in fact, NYS has discussed (as in someone once said it close enough to a tv camera) about bringing back cafe service since now they're paying for the trains.

I really wish they would.
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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

Postby Woody » Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:01 pm

bdawe wrote:it says at the bottom of that page that the State of New York provides capital and operating contributions to 'most Empire Service Trains' since 2013

And I guess we're all wondering what they mean by "most Empire Service Trains"? The state doesn't pay for the Lake Shore Ltd. But I thought that it pays part of the Ethan Allen, all of the Adirondack and the Maple Leaf, and I assumed it pays for the state-supported trains NYC-Niagara Falls and NYC-Albany.

btw I'm pretty sure that there's NY State money going into the new stations at Rochester, Utica, Schenectady, and the new tracks etc around Albany-Rensselear, as well as Moynihan (Penn) station in NYC.
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Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby sullysullinburg » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:52 am

The recently passed Federal Budget from the House may not be great for Amtrak. Link to the info graphic : https://budget.house.gov/wp-content/upl ... -PDF-2.pdf Page 48 talks about transportation. In this it notes that Subsidies to Amtrak will be reduced (not sure by how much still learning how to read government documents) and there will be no federal funding for high speed rail projects. I’ll keep reading through everything and see if I can find definitive numbers but I’m assuming Amtrak will put out some information at some point on the changes it will undergo.
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Re: Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby Defiant » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:05 am

So much for the infrastructure President...

What does this mean to the Gateway project, is there any impact? Any idea if those $900 million that were initially allocated to the project are still there?
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