Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Amtrak Names New Chief

Got the news today that Amtrak named a new CEO, Joseph Boardman. It seems like he has rail experience but much of it recently has been with the Federal Railroad Administration. They haven't been too accommodating or friendly to passenger rail lately, especially light rail lines that run next to freight. They have also been averse to DMU commuter lines such as in Austin.

Much has been written about this and I'll refer you to this article by Light Rail Now! on the FRA's past and current issues with passenger rail. All first impressions lead me to believe that Boardman will be good, but we'll know when we get there. Perhaps the Kerry bill will push folks forward as well.


Cap'n Transit said...

The Empire State Passengers Association has a favorable view of Boardman's record.

anon said...

Sigh. I don't have a favorable view, given that the FRA has been a source of trouble -- and before that he was at NYDOT, which did very little for train service during his tenure.

But on the other hand, it's quite likely that neither set of problems were actually his fault. He's only been at the FRA for three years, and I've heard they're slowly getting better towards passenger rail -- and NY suffered from lack of political will.

Unfortunately I think it indicates that he's been an ineffective advocate, even though he's been on the "right side" in general. Hopefully he'll be an effective administrator, and maybe in the new political climate his advocacy will be more effective.