Amtrak route in jeopardy in NM, other states

November 12, 2013 • State News

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas communities face the potential loss of passenger rail service if Amtrak fails to reach a new agreement by 2016 for maintaining and upgrading portions of the Southwest Chief route through those states, the rail operator said Tuesday.

Ray Lang, Amtrak’s state government relations chief, proposed to a New Mexico legislative committee that Amtrak split the costs of maintenance and capital improvements for more than 600 miles of track with the states and Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which owns the line but uses only a portion of it for hauling freight.

He asked lawmakers to consider a cost-sharing arrangement in which each of the states would spend about $4 million annually for a decade to keep Amtrak’s Southwest Chief line on its current route. He suggested that Amtrak and BNSF could cover similar amounts, about $40 million over 10 years, but he acknowledged that BNSF has made no commitment.

“I still think the five-way split is the Login to read more

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