Suppliers Glean Useful Information from Amtrak Roundtable Event

May 23, 2013 – Washington, DC. Railway Supply Institute staff and over thirty representatives from member companies met with high level Amtrak staff including Joseph Boardman, President and Joe McHugh, Vice President, Government Affairs & Corporate Communications. Topics of discussion at the annual round table event included the current state of the nation’s passenger railroad, its near and long term funding situation, and its future procurement plans. Boardman also announced that his contract had been extended by three years. 

View a copy of Joe McHugh’s presentation. [PDF]

< Photo: Joe Boardman, Amtrak President discusses future plans with RSI members

Boardman and McHugh highlighted that Amtrak converts every dollar of federal investment into $3 for the American economy. Ridership and revenue is up across the board for all of Amtrak’s services – the North East Corridor, short and long distance routes.  Debt is reduced by $1.4 billion, less than half of the 2002 level.  However, for all the good news, Amtrak still faces an uphill budget battle in Congress. Amtrak requested $2.7 billion for FY14 which would allow them to do more business with RSI members, because most of the amount requested is for capital investments such as infrastructure and fleet replacement.  However, Amtrak received $1.47 billion in FY13 and Congress is continuing to operate in its austerity mode. There’s hope that efforts to reauthorize intercity passenger rail will include more federal funding.

After the presentations, attendees participated in a well charged question and answer period with Mr. Boardman and his staff. 

“The Amtrak roundtable meeting was a valuable asset for me and gave me the opportunity to meet staff face to face. Amtrak is such a big organization it is hard to figure out the proper personal to contact in order to discuss business opportunities.  In three days of attending this meeting Amtrak management phoned me to follow up and I was able to obtain the proper information and establish  good contact.” commented Richard Martin of Penn Machine Company LLC.

RSI President Tom Simpson and Nicole Brewin, RSI Vice President of Government Affairs, made a plea to supply companies in attendance to encourage lawmakers in Washington, DC to continue to fund Amtrak at its requested funding level and to host their Members of Congress at their facilities.  

“Rail suppliers must continue to talk to their representatives about supporting Amtrak and its efforts to grow and purchase equipment. This would provide many American jobs and improve the supply industry,” said Simpson.  

After the Amtrak meeting, several people joined RSI to attend meetings on Capitol Hill with Congressional Appropriators to discuss funding of federal rail programs (high speed and intercity passenger rail, TIGER, RRIF, FRA R&D etc.) and its impact on the railway supply industry.  

Thanks to all RSI Member Companies who attended 

Alstom Transportation, Amsted Rail Company, Automated Railroad Maintenance Systems, Chicago Freight Car Leasing Co., ENSCO, Inc., Faiveley Transport, Harting, Inc., Invensys Rail North America, Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc., Megger, Penn Machine Company, Railway Age, Simmons Boardman, Tognum America, Trains Magazine/ Kalmbach Publishing Co., Transportation Technology Center, Inc, Voith Turbo Inc., WABTEC.