Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Michigan’s quest for the “iron clad” contract

Good luck to the many public officials and conscientious citizens trying to nail down what looks like an honest shortline rail carrier on keeping Amtrak service standards. Here is part of the fine editorial running in today’s Battle Creek Enquirer which points out a local ridership of 54,000 annually.

Watco officials told local leaders Wednesday that the plan, already submitted to the federal Surface Transportation Board for approval, calls for passenger service to continue, with possibly as much as $20 million spent in the first three years to maintain or upgrade the track.

That is reassuring, but we think local officials are right to continue to press for ironclad guarantees that Amtrak service will continue, even if the business deal fails to be profitable for Watco. Such guarantees are necessary because the plan is not business as usual. There are virtually no other places in the nation where Amtrak runs on track maintained by short-line railroads, such as Watco.

Southern Michigan cannot risk losing passenger rail service. That can only be assured if any change-of-ownership agreement includes clear, indisputable language guaranteeing it.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

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