(This editorial appeared on
the Boston Globe Website on December 21, 2009.) The Federal Railroad
Administration says it was just following the law in requiring a major environmental
review before Amtrak can seek money for improvements on its Boston-Washington
route. The review should be performed as quickly as possible, and, if it can't
be completed in time to qualify for some of the $8 billion in high-speed rail
funds in the federal stimulus bill, Congress should change the rules. The
Northeast Corridor is, after all, a century-old railbed, and environmental
risks stemming from fairly simple improvements aren't serious enough to
jeopardize the best chance in a generation to push American rail policy in the
Getting to and from Sea-Tac
International Airport got a lot easier Dec. 19 as the Link light rail extension
opened for passenger service.
RailAmerica, Inc. says its
subsidiary RaiLink Canada Ltd. has closed on a transaction with the Canadian
Pacific Railway to terminate its lease of the Ottawa Valley Railway line. Under
the terms of the agreement, RailAmerica, Inc. received C$73 million in gross
proceeds. The company estimates net cash proceeds after taxes and transaction
related expenses of C$69 to C$70 million.
The city of Yakima,
Wash., expects to break ground on the railroad underpass project next March,
thanks to some surprisingly low bids from contractors and political support
from local members of Congress who hope to bring back more money from
Washington, D.C. the Yakima Herald-Republic reports.
Drivers waiting for the
new $6.1-million Covell Road underpass in Edmond, Okla., will have to wait
awhile longer, local media report. Sherwood Construction, contractor for the
project, has requested another 140 calendar days to finish the job, which
started in September 2008, Edmond City Manager Larry Stevens said.
RailComm has successfully
commissioned a Centralized Traffic Control system for Capital Metro's commuter rail
service in Austin, Texas. The Track Warrant Control portion of the system was
launched just 32 days from the signed Notice to Proceed. Capital Metro contracted RailComm to expand the
initial DOC® Track Warrant Control system to include Centralized
Traffic Control functionality for signalized locations. RailComm was
responsible for the central office control system, as well as providing the
data communication network to the controlled interlockings and other field
The Link light rail
extension to SeaTac and Sea-Tac International Airport opens for passenger
service on Saturday, Dec. 19. The 1.7-mile extension completes the line from
downtown Seattle that opened July 18th.
Amtrak told local and state
officials that replacing the Niantic River bridge in Connecticut will take three
years and work on the much smaller Miamicock Bridge would begin Dec. 17, The
The Regional Transportation
Authority approved the Chicago Transit Authority's $1.27-billion budget for
2010. The budget includes management efficiencies, elimination of more than
1,000 jobs and service reductions. In total, the CTA's 2010 operating budget is
nearly $1 million lower than the projected 2009 operating budget.
The Brotherhood of
Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the International Brotherhood of
Teamsters is set to begin national bargaining with the National Carriers'
Conference Committee in January. The BMWED will be bargaining on a coordinated
national basis as part of the Rail Labor Bargaining Coalition. The RLBC is
comprised of six national rail unions, representing more than 70,000 railroad
employees, including; Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division -
IBT, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen - IBT, Brotherhood of
Railroad Signalmen, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Blacksmiths,
Iron Ship Builders, Forgers, and Helpers, National Conference of Firemen &
Oilers - SEIU, Sheet Metal Workers' National Association.