NARP: New and Improved!
Things have certainly changed with NARP, the National Association of Railroad Passengers. NARP has changed its name to become the Rail Passengers Association. The name may be simpler, but the mission has expanded significantly—now we’re not only advocates for Amtrak passengers, but for the folks heading to and from their jobs on commuter rail as well.
Whatever its name, for much of our association’s history, it was primarily an organization of train enthusiasts who showed up in Washington once a year asking Members of Congress to squeeze out a little more money for Amtrak.
More often than not, they were greeted politely in congressional offices, given a few minutes with a junior staff person, then ushered politely-but-firmly back into the main corridor.
But, as RPA, we are now enjoying a level of credibility that was never attained in prior years. New initiatives were aggressively mounted, and people—important people—began to take notice.
These days, when legislation affecting passenger rail comes before Congress, many staff people working for Members call NARP for facts, figures and suggestions. On at least one occasion, NARP staff was asked to suggest changes to the actual wording of legislation that eventually became law.
In Washington last April, no less than five sitting United States senators attended our reception and all five spoke to the gathering.
And on November 13th, our president/CEO Jim Mathews will testify before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. And they asked him!
When we get closer to that date, please check the RPA web site (www.railpassengers.org) because there is a real possibility that the hearing will be available on the internet.