Corridor Capital attends AASHTO in Fort Worth

September 11, 2015

Corridor Capital Chairman James E. Coston attended the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) 2015 Standing Committee on Rail Transportation meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, September 8-11. Here is an official AASHTO report of the gathering.

State DOTs Gather on Passenger, Freight Rail Issues as Legislation Looms

While Congress was returning and officials in the nation’s capital were refocusing on completing a long-term surface transportation bill after an August recess, state officials meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, were watching to see what lawmakers will do on passenger and freight rail programs.

Unlike past highway and transit bills, the Senate-passed DRIVE Act would also reauthorize and fund both Amtrak and Federal Railroad Administration programs, making it a complete surface transportation package.

In addition, the measure includes many freight-focused provisions inside the highway sections.

Now, it’s the House’s turn to produce a transportation bill, after which lawmakers from the two chambers would enter a conference negotiation to hammer out a final one.

Paul Worley is Rail Division director at the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and is vice chair of the Standing Committee on Rail Transportation within the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

“State rail officials are eagerly anticipating congressional action on surface transportation soon,” Worley told AASHTO Journal, “particularly the reauthorization of federal funding related to crossing safety and the passenger rail services many of us operate.Website Insert Gathering of Professionals copy

“We are also encouraged by Congress’ growing focus on freight mobility as a national strategy for economic growth, something our committee has emphasized for years,” he said.

A number of states are paying close attention to the bill’s provisions for state-supported Amtrak routes, in which state governments help cover costs of providing passenger rail service on routes shorter than 750 miles.      

And on the eve of the committee meeting, the Federal Railroad Administration announced the opening of $10 million in grants to help states improve safety at roadway track crossings along routes where trains haul flammable energy products including crude oil and ethanol.

Read the full AASHTO report by clicking here.

 

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