Statement on Surface Transportation Board’s expanded capacity

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A statement from Transportation for America chairman and former mayor of Meridian, MS, John Robert Smith, on the Surface Transportation Board (STB)’s recently expanded capacity: 

“Transportation for America commends the Surface Transportation Board for creating a new passenger rail desk to expedite slow decision-making that often impedes the expansion of reliable passenger rail service. While freight railways are critically important to our nation’s logistics network and the effort to reduce transportation emissions, these companies too often serve as a hurdle to delivering passenger rail that meets 21st century needs. 

“Although Congress gave Amtrak the right to operate passenger trains over all freight right-of-way, many freight railroads have simply said ‘no’ to proposed passenger service. Amtrak’s only hope for resolution laid at the STB.

“Slow STB decisions—due to limited capacity—benefit those standing in the way of passenger rail in the long-term, and end up discouraging many areas from even considering passenger rail as a solution to mobility needs. We are happy to see the STB take steps to address this problem and hope to see more and more reliable passenger rail as a result.” 

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