News & Reviews News Wire Amtrak CEO Gardner to testify at House committee hearing

Amtrak CEO Gardner to testify at House committee hearing

By Bob Johnston | June 2, 2023

Northeast Corridor Commission executive director also a witness in Transportation Committee Meeting set for Tuesday

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Amtrak Acela trainset at station
Washington D.C.-bound Acela 2155 from Boston pauses at New Jersey’s Metropark station on April 28, 2023. Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner is scheduled to testify at the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday with Northeast Corridor Commission Executive Director Mitch Warren. Bob Johnston

WASHINGTON — “Amtrak Operations: Examining the Challenges and Opportunities for improving Efficiency and Service” is the topic of a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing set for Tuesday, June 6, at 10 a.m. EDT.

Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner is one of two witnesses scheduled to testify; the other is Mitch Warren, Northeast Corridor Commission executive director. Given the witness list, it appears Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo. ) called the hearing to get an update on Northeast Corridor infrastructure improvements and spending.

However, the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee is chaired by Troy Nehls (R-Texas) and includes Republicans and Democrats from 18 states; all but three of the states represented are outside the Northeast Corridor.

Other information was not available Friday through the committee’s website, which will live stream the event. The site will likely have written witness testimony before the hearing begins on Tuesday.

8 thoughts on “Amtrak CEO Gardner to testify at House committee hearing

  1. My round trip coach from Wisconsin Dells to South Boston was $396. This is a needed value for me and many older and working Americans. It is a great way to travel.

    I would like to see more than one train per day. I understand the challenges of a nationwide passenger rail system, yet it works.

  2. It wonders me why the existing LD equipment has not been put back in service. There’s been enough time to bring people back and/or train new people.

  3. Well, if it gets to Congress, it’s political. Right now, the Republicans have a four-seat margin in the House while the Democrats control the presidency and the Senate. That four-seat House Margin includes George Santos who isn’t worth the contents of my kitchen’s garbage disposal.

    Let’s just speculate what might happen (and I don’t expect this, but it could happen — there is the possibility). Suppose in January of 2025 the Republicans control the Senate and increase their House margin. Could happen. At that point, there might be some very real questions about funding for Amtrak as a national system.

    This could mean that Calfornia would need to pay for its corridors, the Great Lakes states pay for the Chicago regionals, and the northeastern states assume ownership of NEC for commuter and intercity trains.

    For a half century, we’ve been hosed. We’ve been told that Amtrak is a national system. Hate to tell you folks, a once-daily short train from Chicago to New York/ Boston, and a once-daily short train from Chicago to Washington DC, isn’t a national system. It’s a disgrace.

    I don’t want Amtrak to go the way of VIA Rail Canada, which is a fraction of what it was at its hopeful start-up. I don’t want that. But don’t be all that surprised if it comes to pass. If Canada’s ultra-liberal government can’t provide a decent passenger rail system, America’s divided government with something of a Republican presence won’t either.

  4. The hearings should also focus on what Amtrak is doing for the rest of the rail network nationwide. Amtrak is expected to serve all 48 states in the continential United States not just the Northeast Corridor which Amtrak seems so focused on.
    Gardner and his merry band of bumblers have a lot to answer to equipment shortages, lack or curtailing of train service on many routes especially the long distance routes as well as their fixation on the Northeast Corridor at the expense and sacrifice of the rest of the nationwide network and their inept way of ordering new equipment from manufacturers that don’t work or perform poorly and that brings us to another issue involving Amtrak’s precious NEC The new Acela Express trainsets that should have by now been in service since 2021 are now been delayed until next year 3 years late and counting. Yes Gardner and his gang have a lot to answer for Lets hope the committee doing this hearing have the guts and persona to hold them accountable and demand honest straight forward answers and credible solutions to how they plan to fix the mess that was created and each day that this goes on only puts Amtrak and passenger rail travel deeper in the hole and drives away any potential new business and riders that would come on board and not drive them away
    Joseph C. Markfelder

    1. Gardner will skate through this hearing and emerge without being seriously called to account for anything. He always has in the rare times he has has to give testimony. He will barrage those questioning him with numbers, his knowledge of the physical characteristics of his precious NEC that will suggest he knows just as much about the non-NEC routes, and then make fluffy and empty pledges to upgrade the LDs. He has gotten away with dynamiting his railroad in early October 2020, a dynamiting that continues to this day, because the collective knowledge of the questioners at these hearing of the rail industry, train operations, and the infrastructure needed to properly support a mix of passenger and freight trains without one stepping on the other would fit on the head of a pin with space left over. AND THEY NEVER RIDE EXCEPT MAYBE FOR RELATIVELY SHORT DISTANCES FOR A PHOTO OP. They have never experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly riding these trains, especially the LDs. As much as I hate to say it, Gardner will skate once again.

  5. I agree. The equipment shortage is a serious problem.
    Sold out long distance trains with 5 car consists is ridiculous.

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