Will Congress Clarify Amtrak Regulatory Authority?

May 12, 2016

By Stephanie Beasley, From Daily Report for Executives, Bloomberg BNA

May 11 — The Department of Transportation doesn’t have an easy road ahead if it wants to challenge a recent appeals court decision to strike a 2008 law that granted Amtrak the authority to work with DOT to develop regulations.Website Insert 5000 New Seats copy

Congress might need to step in and fix the law, which the court said was unconstitutional, one attorney said. And though it’s unclear when or if that might happen, a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee aide said there are plans to meet with federal regulators on the issue.

A U.S. appeals court in Washington last month ruled the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008—a law that granted Amtrak authority to work with federal regulators to develop performance metrics—was unconstitutional (See previous story, 05/02/16). The decision was a win for the Association of American Railroads, which has argued that Amtrak was a private entity that should not be allowed to regulate its competitors.

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