Thursday, August 10, 2017

Amtrak, MBTA bury the hatchet

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Amtrak and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) have ended their battle over operation, maintenance and use of the 37.9-mile Attleboro Line between Boston and the Rhode Island state line on the Northeast Corridor. The two parties have struck a new Attleboro Line Agreement under which Amtrak will provide maintenance-of-way and dispatching services through 2021.

“This agreement ends a dispute over applicability of the federal Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) of 2008, Section 212, which created the Northeast Corridor Commission and mandated the development of the Commuter and Intercity Rail Cost Allocation Policy,” Amtrak said. “The Policy, which is meant to provide a consistent methodology for calculating and assessing costs for all users of the Northeast Corridor, was jointly developed by all the owners and operators of rail services from Boston to Washington, D.C.”

The MBTA now assumes responsibility for directing the capital program on the Attleboro Line. MBTA and Amtrak will contribute to capital projects and operating costs “in a manner consistent with PRIIA and the Cost Allocation Policy,” Amtrak said. Amtrak will allow the MBTA to use South Station’s system for dispatching of the south-end branch lines, charging for its use of these facilities “based on a proportionate sharing of facility and system costs.”

“The joint effort of Amtrak and MBTA to reach this new agreement demonstrates our shared recognition of the importance of continued investment in the rail infrastructure in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and throughout the New England region,” said Tom Moritz, Amtrak Assistant Vice President of Infrastructure Access and Investment. “We look forward to working closely with MBTA in the years to come to provide services that benefit both commuter and Amtrak customers.”

“The MBTA is pleased to have reached this agreement with Amtrak, signaling our collaborative efforts and mutual interests in maintaining world-class service for all rail customers through the Northeast Corridor,” said Interim MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “We look forward to working cooperatively with Amtrak now and in the future.”