AIPRO Opposes Bill to Increase Costs of Rail Service


February 17, 2012

A provision in the Senate Commerce Rail Title of the Surface Transportation Act reauthorization forces a costly new regulatory burden on states, commuter rail authorities and passenger rail service providers.  If this regulation becomes law, it will kill the growth of passenger rail in this country, and dramatically increase costs for existing services.

The language in the License Provision would require all commuter railroad service providers, public and private, to become certified by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in order to continue their operations or launch new ones.  The provision also allows the STB to “suspend or cancel” certification if STB liability insurance requirements are not met.

This regulation threatens to put out of business AIPRO member companies that are contracted to operate over 320 trains per day and that annually carry safely and on time approximately 80 million riders to work, school and other destinations in ten separate passenger rail operations from coast to coast.

This regulation strips from the track owning railroad the authority to make all decisions over who may or may not operate passenger service over their own property.  The STB would hold broad veto powers to prevent a track owning railroad to make agreements with any preferred operations provider other than Amtrak.

AIPRO opposes Sec. 36601 of the bill, filed as Senate Amendment 1730.