FRA Proposes Pilot Program for Rail Competition

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September 7, 2011

Today the Federal Railroad Administration issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on allowing private sector passenger rail operators to operate intercity routes. The NPRM is in response to a statutory mandate provided for in the Passenger Rail Investment & Improvement Act of 2008 in order to measure the potential benefits of having an alternative service provider operate intercity passenger rail routes.

The proposed pilot program would allow private operators the opportunity to operate up to two routes around the country presently operated by Amtrak. Operators petitioning to service selected routes will provide bids to the FRA for consideration. Amtrak is required to bid for petitioned routes. The goal of the authorizing statute is to allow the alternative operator up to 5 years of operations in which to measure and determine the benefits of contracted service.

AIPRO will be providing technical assistance to the FRA on how to best encourage the private sector participation in the Alternative Service Pilot Program in order to make the program a success.

The full text of the NPRM may be found here.