Council Member to Testify Before Senate on National Network
June 26, 2019
ColoRail’s James Souby Will Defend Right of Rural, Small Town Americans to Access Passenger Rail System
For Immediate Release (19-11)
Contact: Xenophon Strategies - (202) 289-4001
Washington, D.C. - The President of the Colorado Passenger Rail Association (ColoRail) and an At-Large National Representative of the Rail Passengers Association, James Souby of Colorado, will testify today before the U.S. Senate on what comes next for Amtrak and the U.S. passenger rail network. The hearing, held by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, comes at a time of renewed scrutiny of Amtrak’s National Network, with Congressional leaders defending the importance of maintaining service on all existing routes.
Titled “Amtrak: Next Steps for Passenger Rail,” the hearing will examine the implementation of the rail title of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The committee will also ask rail experts about what priorities must be addressed in reauthorizing the FAST Act, which expires at the end of fiscal year 2020.
Souby will defend the right of rural and small communities -- particularly those in the western and southern states -- to have access to reliable, efficient intercity rail service, drawing on decades of experience in government and the direct role he played in the campaign to preserve the Southwest Chief in Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico. Souby’s testimony will also draw on research done by the Rail Passengers Association, with an emphasis on two reports:
Bustituted: The Socioeconomic Impacts of Replacing Southwest Chief Service Over Raton Pass, which quantifies the economic impact of rail service to Southwest Chief communities. The paper calculated $180 million in direct annual benefits from the train to the three states that stood to lose service, and found $135 million in one-time losses that would have occurred from breaking the route up.
Amtrak’s Route Accounting: Fatally Flawed, Misleading & Wrong, which explains why fully allocated costing, combined with Amtrak’s flawed route accounting system, misrepresents the public cost of providing passenger trains as a mobility choice for the entire nation by failing to report incremental costs of service and omitting the costs of capital consumption.
This hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.
More information on Rail Passengers vision for U.S. passenger rail service is available at the at www.RailPassengers.org/Blueprint.
About the Rail Passengers Association
The Rail Passengers Association is the oldest and largest national organization speaking for the nearly 40 million users of passenger trains and rail transit. We have worked since 1967 to expand the quality and quantity of passenger rail in the U.S. Our mission is to work towards a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. Our work is supported by more than 28,000 individual members nationwide.
"I’m so proud that we came together in bipartisan fashion in the Senate to keep the Southwest Chief chugging along, and I’m grateful for this recognition from the Rail Passengers Association. This victory is a testament to what we can accomplish when we reach across the aisle and work together to advance our common interests."
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)
April 2, 2019, on receiving the Association's Golden Spike Award for his work to protect the Southwest Chief