• U.S. Supreme Court Affirms Amtrak’s Regulatory Authority
  • May 20, 2015 | Author: Christopher G. Foster
  • Law Firm: Morris Polich & Purdy LLP - Los Angeles Office
  • In 1970, Congress passed the Rail Passenger Service Act (RPSA), which was designed to aid in maintaining a national passenger railway system. The RPSA established the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, better known as Amtrak, which was intended to meet the national intercity railway needs. In 2008, Congress passed the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) due to concerns of poor service, unreliability and delays caused by freight traffic congestion. This act granted Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) joint authority, in consultation with the Surface Transportation Board (STB), to issue “metrics and standards” that address the performance and scheduling of passenger railroad services. The purpose of these standards is to improve the on-time performance and quality of Amtrak trains. When Amtrak does not meet the developed standards, the act gives the STB power to investigate freight companies that own the tracks on which Amtrak trains travel. The STB may sanction freight companies if they find they’re causing delays by failing to give Amtrak trains preference in using their tracks.