The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued the Final Rule for Metrics and Minimum Standards for Intercity Passenger Rail Service. The Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on Monday, November 16, 2020.
The Final Rule emerges after years of litigation over the mechanism identified in the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, Pub. L. 110-432, 122 Stat. 4907 (PRIIA) for establishing standards for determining whether intercity passenger trains, currently all operated by Amtrak are “on time.” The Final Rule establishes the following measures:
This standard applies to passenger trains beginning “on the first full calendar quarter after May 17, 2021.” Anticipating ongoing disputes between Amtrak and host freight railroads over scheduling, the Final Rule also introduces a certified schedule metric that allows for Amtrak and the host railroads to negotiate schedules and sets forth a dispute resolution process if the parties disagree. In the event that Amtrak and a host railroad cannot agree on a train schedule for a particular route before May 17, 2021, they can report the then-applicable schedule as a “disputed schedule” and the customer OTP standard for that disputed schedule will apply beginning on the second full calendar quarter after May 17, 2021. This metric requires Amtrak to report which trains have certified schedules, uncertified schedules or disputed schedules. Amtrak and the Host Railroad’s CEO must notify Congress of the uncertified schedules on a monthly basis.
If you have questions about the Final Rule, please contact Allison Fultz, Suzanne Silverman, Byron Smith or Charles Spitulnik.