Amtrak Says Private Involvement in Passenger Rail is not a Silver Bullet that Ensures Success

WASHINGTON – Efforts to encourage increased private sector involvement and investment in intercity passenger rail service is a welcome development, but “private sector involvement is not the silver bullet that ensures success,” Amtrak Vice President for Policy and Development Stephen Gardner said in written testimony submitted to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials.

He explained that “increased private sector involvement is not a substitute for adequate, consistent and assured federal funding.” To the contrary, “federal funding for intercity passenger rail service is the only way to attract – and maintain – private sector participation and financing.”

“Amtrak is not afraid of competing to operate high speed and intercity passenger rail services,” he said. However, “other companies that wish to operate passenger rail service must be subject to all of the laws and regulations that apply to Amtrak” including labor, liability and insurance requirements.