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On-time for Amtrak mean more money for freights

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Amtrak, the U.S. long-distance passenger railroad, paid freight railways 16 percent more last fiscal year to use their tracks, reports Bloomberg news. Amtrak paid carriers $115.4 million, or $4.44 per train mile, in the year ended in September, according to a report posted on the U.S.DOT's inspector general's Website. The payments, which give Amtrak rights-of-way privileges, increased because more trains arrived on-time. Seventy percent of the miles Amtrak travels are on tracks owned by the largest U.S. and Canadian freight railroads, and payments to those carriers accounted for 3.3 percent of operating costs in fiscal 2009, according to the report by Inspector General Calvin Scovel. Amtrak, which receives an appropriation from Congress, owns portions of the tracks its trains run on in the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston and moves its trains on tracks owned by freight carriers in most of the rest of the country.

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