Posted by Peter Kochansky, Director, Goulston & Storrs, PC
Over the past several days, Boston has hosted the annual Rail Conference held by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Transportation leaders from around the nation and the world gathered in Boston to discuss the challenges they face in increasing mobility and delivering high quality service to their customers.
One difficult issue facing commuter rail agencies across the country involves the sharing of right of way with freight railroads and Amtrak. To make use of federal funding for commuter rail expansion projects, commuter rail agencies often must reach agreements with other railroads on issues such as operating windows, control of maintenance and dispatching, liability, and construction coordination on shared tracks.
In recent years, Massachusetts has taken a strong leadership role in regional rail planning. Working with its rail partners at Amtrak, CSX, Pan Am, and the state of Rhode Island, Massachusetts has successfully navigated the difficult issues involved in commuter rail expansion. In several forward-thinking initiatives, the Commonwealth has positioned itself for strategic commuter rail growth today and in the future, while at the same time promoting the economic development benefits that come from reliable intercity passenger service and from a vibrant freight industry.
Please read the paper entitled "Negotiating Passenger Rail Operating Rights: Lessons Learned in Massachusetts," prepared for the APTA Rail Conference, for more information about rail planning developments in Massachusetts.