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For More Information Contact:
Deirdre O'Sullivan
(202) 366-0631
January 11, 2002

For Immediate Release


In a meeting today in Washington, the Amtrak Reform Council approved basic elements of a restructuring plan it must submit to Congress on February 7th. The Council recommends that the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (NRPC), commonly referred to as Amtrak, be reorganized by putting its train operations into one subsidiary and its real property infrastructure into another.

The NRPC itself would be reconfigured as a small program management agency that would control the passenger rail franchise rights, define funding requirements for train operations and infrastructure needs, secure funding from the Congress, and oversee the performance of the system.

If Congress agrees, the immediate effect would be to place train operations in a separate company, free from the burden of the expensive infrastructure of tracks, stations, and other real property. Once the reorganization is in place, the NRPC could introduce competition into the national rail passenger system by entering into contracts with other train operating companies for the operation of a particular route or routes. The NRPC could also exercise its franchise authority to operate passenger trains at the request of a state or an interstate compact.

Council Chairman Gil Carmichael summed up the Council's action, saying, "What we're trying to do is produce a new national rail passenger system that works and is modern and meets the needs of this country and this century."

The Amtrak Reform Council is an independent Federal oversight commission established under the provisions of the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act of 1997 (P. L. 105-134) to recommend improvements in Amtrak's operations and to monitor its financial performance.

The ARC is an independent federal commission established under the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-134).