American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

DC: AASHTO Urges Amtrak and States to Complete Passenger Rail Agreements

With a federally mandated deadline of Oct. 16 fast approaching, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials urged Amtrak and the state DOTs to quickly complete negotiations over capital investments and operations along state-supported intercity passenger rail corridors.

AASHTO recognizes the commitment that states have made in negotiating in good faith to complete agreements with Amtrak to sustain service in all the state-supported corridors.

“The states recognize the importance of intercity passenger rail service to the people and businesses that depend on the routes, as well as our overall economy,” said Bud Wright, AASHTO executive director. “We will see a significant disruption in travel and mobility if these agreements are not in place soon. And we know states want to ensure uninterrupted passenger rail service.”

Amtrak currently operates 21 state-supported passenger rail routes in 15 states. The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 directed states and Amtrak to “develop and implement a single, nationwide standardized methodology for establishing and allocating the operating and capital costs among the States and Amtrak” along intercity passenger rail corridors.

“State supported corridors account for approximately 50 percent of Amtrak’s annual ridership,” said Wright. “Any disruption to continuing service to the state supported corridors goes against AASHTO’s support for an integrated, comprehensive national transportation system.”