Will Amtrak Regional Service End in California, Illinois and Indiana?
This is our third update on the progress of states to reach funding agreements with Amtrak required by PRIIA to continue to operate 28 regional routes (less than 750 miles long) excluding the Northeast Corridor in 19 states; earlier ones were posted May 6 and Sept. 13.
"Time is running out," Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm says. "We're working diligently with the remaining states."
In fact, "Amtrak has sent notices to states warning that the trains could stop running Oct. 16 if they don't reach the necessary agreements."
In California, Amtrak needs to sign deals with two agencies: the state transportation department [Caltrans], as well as the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, a partnership of six local transit agencies. Amtrak has reached an agreement with the joint authority but is still working to reach one with the transportation department, Kulm says.
Note, this is different than what we had posted in May when we pointed to the Pacific Surfliner trains between San Diego and San Luis Obispo that needed a funding agreement. The Capitol Corridor trains run from San Jose to Sacramento, with connecting "Thruway Bus Connections" (PDF) to distant locations (e.g. buses to/from San Jose and San Luis Obispo, where I am writing this story). Amtrak California, a division of Caltrans, helps fund and/or operate three intrastate routes.
Calls to the new California Transportation Agency seeking comment were not returned. But we'll provide an update here if more information is provided.
UPDATE (10/10/2013): In Governing, Ryan Holeywell reports: "California officials have approved a deal to provide an extra $19 million in annual funding for Amtrak, ensuring the passenger rail provider's service continues uninterrupted in the Golden State."