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Via Garibaldi 8

Phillips, Senate Republicans Introduce Bill To Withhold Millions In State Funding From Amtrak

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Posted (edited)

Phillips, Senate Republicans Introduce Bill To Withhold Millions In State Funding From Amtrak Until Penn Station Commuters Get Relief

 

ELAINE PHILLIPS

 

May 18, 2017

 

 

Senator Elaine Phillips (R-C, Manhasset) and Long Island’s entire Senate Republican delegation today announced the introduction of a new bill to help compensate commuters and hold Amtrak responsible for costly and frustrating Penn Station delays. The measure (S6421) would withhold New York State’s payments to Amtrak, operator of Penn Station, and return the savings to commuters as they continue to experience repeated travel problems that jeopardize jobs and paralyze the region’s economy. 

Senator Phillips, lead sponsor of the bill and a former LIRR commuter for over 20 years, said, “What LIRR commuters are dealing with at Penn Station is a total disgrace. Poor maintenance and crumbling infrastructure at Penn Station are causing massive delays, cancelations and service disruptions that make commuting a living hell for Long Islanders. Amtrak’s failures are preventing LIRR riders from getting the service they paid for; if service is decreasing, fares should too. This legislation would help Long Island commuters get a much needed fare reduction.”   

Lengthy unannounced delays, service disruptions, and dangerous track conditions have been ongoing for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and other trains that use Penn Station. Recently, Amtrak forecasted additional reductions in LIRR service – potentially 25 percent – to complete overdue repairs of four tracks and other infrastructure this summer, which will likely lead to more unacceptable issues for New York commuters. 

A state report released this year estimated that 7.5 million LIRR riders were delayed or had rides canceled or terminated before reaching their destination in 2016, resulting in more than $60 million in lost productivity.

The bill authorizes the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to discontinue all payments to Amtrak as a way of compensating commuters affected by unscheduled delays and cancellations that result from Amtrak’s inadequate maintenance. The payments could be withheld until December 31, 2017, unless service for trains arriving and departing at Penn Station is restored to 95-percent on-time performance for at least one month. The monies withheld by MTA would be directed back to commuters in the form of savings on fares.

Joining Phillips to cosponsor the bill are Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan; Senators Carl Marcellino (R, Syosset); Kemp Hannon (R, Nassau); Thomas Croci (R, Sayville); Kenneth LaValle (R-C-I, Port Jefferson); and Phil Boyle (R-C-I, Bay Shore).

Senator Flanagan said, “Our region’s commuters are rightfully fed up with Amtrak for the repeated train disruptions and lack of information that puts people’s jobs and our economy at risk. I applaud Senator Phillips for taking action to get results that will either urge Amtrak to fix the chronic delays and maintenance issues once and for all, or compensate the passengers for Penn Station’s ongoing problems.”

Senator Marcellino said, “LIRR riders pay a premium price for their train service.  They should, at the very least, be able to count on the trains running on time. Mechanical problems, cancelations and delays have become the only sure thing when you arrive at the station.  This legislation puts the needs of the ridership first and will help restore a level of accountability.”

Senator Hannon said, “Long Island Rail Road commuters have long suffered through delays, cancellations and other disruptions, and the problems have only been exacerbated in the past several months. With the planned closures at Penn Station during Amtrak’s extensive rehabilitation project, which will further significantly impact service for LIRR riders, I join my Senate colleagues in discontinuing any and all payments to Amtrak in order to fully compensate LIRR commuters who’ve experienced unscheduled delays and cancellations caused by 'inadequate maintenance' of Penn Station and its tunnels. That would include commuters impacted from March 24 through Dec. 31 of this year. The maintenance is long overdue, and these delays are totally unacceptable.”

Senator Croci said, “For the Long Island Railroad commuter it has been long, tiresome, and beyond frustrating. Delays and disruption are stealing time away from work and family.  LIRR and Amtrak service problems must be remedied. This legislation will ensure hardworking commuters and riders - the riding public will be the priority.”

Senator Boyle said, “Our LIRR commuters deserve reliable transportation. With the enormous amount of delays and headaches customers are experiencing, this bill will provide some relief for impacted riders.”

In April, New Jersey Transit also announced it would stop paying Amtrak until an independent examination verifies that the tracks, signals, and other equipment are in a state of good repair. Combined, New York and New Jersey pay approximately $150 million a year for the use of Penn Station. Currently New York pays Amtrak millions for lease payments and other improvements at Penn Station. In addition, the MTA’s 2015-2019 Capital Program includes over $240 million for projects to improve the passenger flow and customer experience at Penn Station.  

 

Source: https://www.nysenate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/elaine-phillips/phillips-senate-republicans-introduce-bill-withhold-millions

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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Lol NJ is already doing that by the governor asking the state AG to withhold funds

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Lol NJ is already doing that by the governor asking the state AG to withhold funds

I wish they were more specific about how commuters would supposedly "save". Will they be partially refunded? Not clear as of yet. In any event, they should be.

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I don't see how withholding state funding from Amtrak until they appease Long Islanders will result in improvements at Penn Station.

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This is pretty much stupid.

"Let's make an already broke Amtrak fix their infrastructure, by cutting them from much needed funding. That'll fix  the problem."

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It actually makes perfect sense. NJT and the LIRR are tenants. Since Amtrak isn't providing the services they're supposed to, they're withholding the monies due to them until they get things back in a state of repair. Some of you may think that the Amtrak needs those funds to make the repairs, but that's a separate issue, and not LIRR's or NJT's problem since they are giving Amtrak monies precisely to deal with things like maintenance. This is the same thing that tenants do when landlords don't make repairs and I'm sure there are contractual obligations that Amtrak currently isn't meeting.

 

In short, the LIRR and NJT aren't receiving what they're supposed to and they're telling Amtrak either you start delivering or we're going to take action. These politicians have the power to force Amtrak to perhaps even let someone else take over Penn Station and run it. Someone with deeper pockets... Either way they can't keep taking the money and not delivering what was agreed to.

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In else where in the country, if the track is bad, the freight Railroad simply say "sorry no trains today". Should Amtrak just do that? Long Islanders and NJ are lucky that Amtrak try to run as many of THEIR trains as possible during the shutdown (including diverting some trains to GCT.

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 Some of you may think that the Amtrak needs those funds to make the repairs, but that's a separate issue, and not LIRR's or NJT's problem since they are giving Amtrak monies precisely to deal with things like maintenance. This is the same thing that tenants do when landlords don't make repairs and I'm sure there are contractual obligations that Amtrak currently isn't meeting.

 

In short, the LIRR and NJT aren't receiving what they're supposed to and they're telling Amtrak either you start delivering or we're going to take action. These politicians have the power to force Amtrak to perhaps even let someone else take over Penn Station and run it. Someone with deeper pockets... Either way they can't keep taking the money and not delivering what was agreed to.

 

Amtrak just announced the schedule for summer repair work last week. Taking away your payments just means Amtrak can't do the repairs you want done.

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Posted (edited)

Welcome to political staging class. Please remove all your logical facilities and start shamelessly grandstanding. 

 

Seriously guys, these people should either be footing the bill for faster work or berating their counterparts in Washington for running up a $38 BILLION deficit in NEC infrastructure spending. Hypocrites....

Edited by RR503
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But at the same time the passengers of LIRR don't want such crappy service every other day with the fare they take. So the MTA has to obviously blame someone for all the delays and what better than Amtrak. It's all one long chain of blame and Amtrak gets the brunt of it.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using NYC Transit Forums mobile app

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Posted (edited)

But at the same time the passengers of LIRR don't want such crappy service every other day with the fare they take. So the MTA has to obviously blame someone for all the delays and what better than Amtrak. It's all one long chain of blame and Amtrak gets the brunt of it.

Sent from my iPhone using NYC Transit Forums mobile app

Amtrak just announced the schedule for summer repair work last week. Taking away your payments just means Amtrak can't do the repairs you want done.

Welcome to political staging class. Please remove all your logical facilities and start shamelessly grandstanding.

 

Seriously guys, these people should either be footing the bill for faster work or berating their counterparts in Washington for running up a $38 BILLION deficit in NEC infrastructure spending. Hypocrites....

But at the same time the passengers of LIRR don't want such crappy service every other day with the fare they take. So the MTA has to obviously blame someone for all the delays and what better than Amtrak. It's all one long chain of blame and Amtrak gets the brunt of it.

Sent from my iPhone using NYC Transit Forums mobile app

You can call it whatever you like, but the fact is Amtrak has been receiving monies now for YEARS to do what they're just starting to do now, which is make the repairs necessary to keep things in a good state of repair. Amtrak is the one running Penn Station, and if they don't have the funds to do so, they can turn over the operations to someone that can. It's that simple. Amtrak's CEO hasn't talked about a lack of funds of all, and if that is such as issue then he should be bringing it to the forefront. At the end of the day, Amtrak track has an obligation to meet the contractual stipulations they laid out for both the LIRR and NJT, and they currently aren't doing that. Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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Anyone who thinks monies gleaned from this proposal is actually going back to the people..... welp, I got a bridge to sell ya. Let's be honest. Anything "refunded" is going straight into BOTH states' coffers and/or politicians pockets.

 

Don't be delusional. This is nothing more than a money-making scheme for the politicos.

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You can call it whatever you like, but the fact is Amtrak has been receiving monies now for YEARS to do what they're just starting to do now, which is make the repairs necessary to keep things in a good state of repair. Amtrak is the one running Penn Station, and if they don't have the funds to do so, they can turn over the operations to someone that can. It's that simple. Amtrak's CEO hasn't talked about a lack of funds of all, and if that is such as issue then he should be bringing it to the forefront. At the end of the day, Amtrak track has an obligation to meet the contractual stipulations they laid out for both the LIRR and NJT, and they currently aren't doing that.

There is no easy way out of this, you could talk all about repairs, but when someone's train get "cancelled" because of the "repairs" there is going to be complaints. That's why prior to the derailment work was done over the weekends and late night to minimize disruption. The biggest problem is just simply, Penn Station is too busy, and there is too many people going there to have the time to do track work

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The "holier than thou crowd" looking for a photo-op or an open microphone to complain about something that they helped contribute to in the first place? The complaints from their constituents should be addressed to their federal counterparts A/K/A representatives and senators who voted on appropriation bill after appropriation bill with virtually no money given to Amtrak for capital projects such as Penn Station since its inception in 1971. At one time we were blessed with two champions of Amtrak, namely Senators Frank Lautenberg and Daniel Patrick Moynihan who fought tooth and nail for capital projects and were not afraid to work with other Senators and Representatives to make sure that some (very little, unfortunately) money was available  for these projects. 

Again, it is two emperors and their counterparts in Congress that are at fault and since this is a photo-op and there is a microphone, it is an excuse to blame someone else for the problems which they and their predecessors helped to create in the first place. The second Hudson River Tunnel should have been under construction right now (and it is my belief that it should be right next to the existing tunnels) if the Jersey Emperor would have thought regionally (heaven forbid). If the bottomless pit of LIRR Grand Central Terminal would have been within budget, our elected leaders could have used the leverage to improve Penn Station.

What bothers me is that all of a sudden our so-called leaders woke up to a problem that has been around for years that they and their predecessors did not nothing to resolve. So as usual, the riders get the short end of the stick and the "elected leaders" will tell the voters to vote for them in the next election cycle as they tried to do something about this problem when in actuality, they did nothing..  

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There is no easy way out of this, you could talk all about repairs, but when someone's train get "cancelled" because of the "repairs" there is going to be complaints. That's why prior to the derailment work was done over the weekends and late night to minimize disruption. The biggest problem is just simply, Penn Station is too busy, and there is too many people going there to have the time to do track work

 

 

The "holier than thou crowd" looking for a photo-op or an open microphone to complain about something that they helped contribute to in the first place? The complaints from their constituents should be addressed to their federal counterparts A/K/A representatives and senators who voted on appropriation bill after appropriation bill with virtually no money given to Amtrak for capital projects such as Penn Station since its inception in 1971. At one time we were blessed with two champions of Amtrak, namely Senators Frank Lautenberg and Daniel Patrick Moynihan who fought tooth and nail for capital projects and were not afraid to work with other Senators and Representatives to make sure that some (very little, unfortunately) money was available  for these projects. 

Again, it is two emperors and their counterparts in Congress that are at fault and since this is a photo-op and there is a microphone, it is an excuse to blame someone else for the problems which they and their predecessors helped to create in the first place. The second Hudson River Tunnel should have been under construction right now (and it is my belief that it should be right next to the existing tunnels) if the Jersey Emperor would have thought regionally (heaven forbid). If the bottomless pit of LIRR Grand Central Terminal would have been within budget, our elected leaders could have used the leverage to improve Penn Station.

What bothers me is that all of a sudden our so-called leaders woke up to a problem that has been around for years that they and their predecessors did not nothing to resolve. So as usual, the riders get the short end of the stick and the "elected leaders" will tell the voters to vote for them in the next election cycle as they tried to do something about this problem when in actuality, they did nothing..  

As far as I'm concerned, a private entity should come in and take over Penn Station and run it.  The real issue here is a new 21st century station is needed, and this patch work nonsense isn't going to work either.  The terminal needs a massive overhaul, one that will be costly to taxpayers, and we're already paying through the nose as it is for infrastructure projects. Let someone with deep pockets come in and take over that mess and put in the money that is needed.

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As far as I'm concerned, a private entity should come in and take over Penn Station and run it.  The real issue here is a new 21st century station is needed, and this patch work nonsense isn't going to work either.  The terminal needs a massive overhaul, one that will be costly to taxpayers, and we're already paying through the nose as it is for infrastructure projects. Let someone with deep pockets come in and take over that mess and put in the money that is needed.

Few Questions: Who will buy it? 2) Will the purchase include track repairs? 3) If you think it's costly to taxpayers WHY would a private entity buy the dump that's called Penn Station and some how build a grand station again? What are the incentives? If it's office building on top of penn I'm afraid nothing's gonna change
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Few Questions: Who will buy it? 2) Will the purchase include track repairs? 3) If you think it's costly to taxpayers WHY would a private entity buy the dump that's called Penn Station and some how build a grand station again? What are the incentives? If it's office building on top of penn I'm afraid nothing's gonna change

If there wasn't someone that could buy it, it wouldn't be thrown around as an option, so I have to believe that someone could come in and take it over at the right price.  It's a dump, but it's got tons of history.  MSG is next door.  It's located in a prime area where it can attract top dollar for shops, restaurants and the like.  Throw in some tax incentives and other goodies and call it a day.

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Posted (edited)

Of course somebody will buy it( the land above) just not the railroad tracks, NOBODY want to deal with capital improvement of the tracks and even if they did be prepare for EVERYBODY to pay MORE. The only reason it is a option is because our politicians are clueless...

Edited by Mtatransit
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Of course somebody will buy it( the land above) just not the railroad tracks, NOBODY want to deal with capital improvement of the tracks and even if they did be prepare for EVERYBODY to pay MORE

I'm sure some sort of deal could be reached for such a thing though.  There are plenty of developers around the city given how many buildings have been going up and surely one could be identified for Penn Station.

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As far as I'm concerned, a private entity should come in and take over Penn Station and run it.  The real issue here is a new 21st century station is needed, and this patch work nonsense isn't going to work either.  The terminal needs a massive overhaul, one that will be costly to taxpayers, and we're already paying through the nose as it is for infrastructure projects. Let someone with deep pockets come in and take over that mess and put in the money that is needed.

Yuh huh, and the private entity will be stopped from cutting mx corners how? The goodness of their hearts? 

 

They have one responsibility, and that's to their shareholders, public be damned. Look at what happened last time a private corporation owned Penn Station....

 

Amtrak has been given the bare minimum of funding to run their network since 1971. They do their absolute best with what they have -- look at their successes, but eventually, if you starve something, it's going to break. Giving this to some inexperienced private entity would ruin Penn Station, as would giving it to the LIRR (which actually is worse at maintaining its facilities than amtrak). 

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Yuh huh, and the private entity will be stopped from cutting mx corners how? The goodness of their hearts? 

 

They have one responsibility, and that's to their shareholders, public be damned. Look at what happened last time a private corporation owned Penn Station....

 

Amtrak has been given the bare minimum of funding to run their network since 1971. They do their absolute best with what they have -- look at their successes, but eventually, if you starve something, it's going to break. Giving this to some inexperienced private entity would ruin Penn Station, as would giving it to the LIRR (which actually is worse at maintaining its facilities than amtrak). 

Well doing nothing isn't the answer either, and as I said before, if Amtrak can't handle the pressure, they need to get out of the kitchen and turn over the reins to someone who can.

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Well doing nothing isn't the answer either, and as I said before, if Amtrak can't handle the pressure, they need to get out of the kitchen and turn over the reins to someone who can.

Amtrak has been put in a lose lose situation. Regardless of what they do, it's ultimately going to be harmful for them. IMO I have more faith in Amtrak than a private contractor, as a company they're fairly honest, which is something really rare nowadays. 

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Amtrak has been put in a lose lose situation. Regardless of what they do, it's ultimately going to be harmful for them. IMO I have more faith in Amtrak than a private contractor, as a company they're fairly honest, which is something really rare nowadays. 

As I said, if they're not getting enough funding, step aside and let someone else take over. No one is forcing them to run Penn Station.

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As I said, if they're not getting enough funding, step aside and let someone else take over. No one is forcing them to run Penn Station.

But MAYBE if NY and NJ come together and supply the money to fix the track instead of giving this political nonsense, things would get done instead of blaming every single agency that runs into Penn Station. They want a private agency because this way, NJT, LIRR, AND Amtrak could blame the "private" operator that now runs Penn. Our government sure are good at blaming other people but not take responsibility...
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