What’s Ahead for Passenger Rail?
It’s going to be weeks before we have any kind of handle as to where the Trump Administration is headed with respect to passenger rail in general and Amtrak in particular.
He has spoken about coming up with a one trillion dollar infrastructure bill within the first 100 days, but we have no idea how much of that, if any, would benefit passenger rail. Sean Jeans-Gail, NARP’s government affairs guy, has counseled patience saying it shall be revealed unto us in due course. An assessment of the actual election is still being made by Sean, with a lot of evaluating to be done with respect to who won and who lost. Then there’s a third category: who among the Republican losers are going to get a cushy job in the Trump Administration?
Amtrak’s long-time nemesis, Congressman John Mica, (R-Florida) was beaten quite handily by newcomer Stephanie Murphy. But hold the phone: one of our politically astute members has raised a chilling thought: What if Trump should “take care” of Mica by appointing him to head the Surface Transportation Board or the Federal Railroad Administration?
There is some very good news, however. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has appointed NARP’s president and CEO, Jim Mathews, to the National Advisory Committee on Travel and Tourism Infrastructure. It’s a two-year term, which means that Jim will be in a significant position of influence through the first twenty-one months of the Trump Administration.
One thing is very clear: it’s going to be a long, slow, steady uphill slog. Which, of course, is the very reason we are here!