Happening Now

Case "Will Determine the Future of Passenger Rail in the U.S.”

December 8, 2014

Release #14-18

December 8, 2014

Sean Jeans-Gail, NARP – 202-408-8362

Case "Will Determine the Future of Passenger Rail in the U.S.

Supreme Justices Hear Arguments in Association of American Railroads v. U.S. Department of Transportation

Washington, D.C. – The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in the Association of American Railroads v. U.S. Department of Transportation, a case that has snarled passenger train movements across the national rail network. The National Association of Railroad Passengers joined with the Environmental Law & Policy Center, All Aboard Ohio and Virginians for High Speed Rail to petition the court on the behalf of America’s train passengers who have been hurt by the protracted delays.

The Supreme Court will review a lower court’s decision to strike down a 2008 law that allowed the Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak to work with stakeholders to develop metrics and minimum standards for measuring Amtrak passenger train performance and service quality. Since the 2013 decision reported freight-interference incidents nearly tripled, and Amtrak’s on-time performance has plummeted to 42 percent.

“Passenger rail offers an indispensable transportation option for tens of millions of Americans—but the system only works if people can count on the train to get them where they need to go, when they need to be there,” said NARP President Jim Mathews. “Skyrocketing delays are eating into Amtrak’s ridership and revenue, and turning off hundreds of potential new rail riders each day. America’s passengers need the court to help get our trains moving again.”

“This is a case that will determine the future of passenger rail in the United States," said Karen Torrent, the attorney with ELPC who filed a “Friend of the Court” brief on behalf of NARP. "We're asking the court to get Amtrak back on track to reliable, on-time performance.”

About the National Association of Railroad Passengers

NARP is the only national organization speaking for the 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 28,000 individual members nationwide.