Ken W2KB wrote:
gokeefe wrote: ↑Sat Jul 24, 2021 11:23 pm
Public utility status does not result in an exclusion from Constitutional protections. Indeed, federal and state courts often have reversed federal and state regulatory agency decisions based upon this standard of review: "allowed rates must be fair, just and reasonable including the recovery of costs that are prudently incurred, and the right to earn a reasonable return on investment". To the extent that Amtrak's payments to a railroad over which Amtrak operates does not meet this legal requirement Amtrak must increase its compensation paid to a fair, just and reasonable amount or cease to operate over that line.
In my opinion the costs incurred and right to a reasonable return on investment are specific to the railroads freight business.
In short Amtrak's impact on profits and the bottom line to operate over the carrier cannot destroy the profitability of their lines or the reasonable return on investment.
If the railroads can make a reasonable argument that Amtrak operations will deprive them of their reasonable return on investment then I think we have a real discussion. However, to date the entire consensus seems to be that what Amtrak wants is absolutely minimal in terms of impact to the carriers.
I could be very wrong on this point but that seems to be the consensus thus far. No one is arguing CSX or NS segments will become unprofitable or that the reasonable return on investment will be lost but that CSX and NS have an absolute "right" protected by the 5th Amendment against *any* loss of profitability.
What was done on 1971 in addition to relieving the railroads of the passenger device burden was also to make the government the sole customer to the railroads for common carriage of passengers. In short Amtrak has become an aggregator of railroad passengers that ironically enough is much more efficient at this task than the interline agreements and terminal divisions ever were.
The reason why Amtrak is able to compel access without paying for every last dime of lost profits is because the government has given them the authority to do so within the broad license of the interstate commerce clause.
This authority is considered to be sufficiently equitable because Amtrak does in fact make payments to host railroads, along with agreements for certain capital improvements.
The real question right now seems to be whether or not CSX and NS are making a request to preserve a "reasonable" return on investment. The standard as I recall is around 6% for STB methodology purposes. If Amtrak goes to the Board I have a feeling CSX and NS are going to have trouble proving their case.
I could be wrong but this entire situation has felt like a "No" from CSX all along simply for their own convenience and not due to true compelling financial concerns.
Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk