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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Another Hack Hears "All Aboard"

   
Author Topic: Another Hack Hears "All Aboard"
Gilbert B Norman
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White House

Senate confirmation is required.

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  • Rick A. Dearborn of Oklahoma, to be a Member of the Amtrak Board of Directors for a term of five years.

    Mr. Dearborn served as Deputy Chief of Staff for President Donald J. Trump from January 2017 to March 2018, and was the executive director of the Presidential transition team following President Trump’s election. Mr. Dearborn served as the Chief of Staff for Senator Jeff Sessions from 2005 to 2017, as the Assistant Secretary of Energy for Congressional Affairs from 2003 to 2005, and as the legislative director for then Senator Sessions beginning in 1997. Mr. Dearborn graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1988. He and his wife, Gina, split their time between homes in Alexandria, Virginia and Birmingham, Alabama.
There will be an Amtrak whenever President Trump leaves office; it just won't be "Amtrak as we know it".
Posts: 8804 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
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A deeper dive into his resume shows that Mr. Dearborn has worked for former Senators Trent Lott and Kay Bailey Hutchison, both of whom were GOP supporters of Amtrak. Let's hope he shares the sentiments of those mentors.
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palmland
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Good info Vincent. I wonder if he worked for Sen. Lott when he was Majority Leader. I remember in the late 90’s Lott worked with Sen. Moynihan on Amtrak legisation. It wasn’t too long ago there was actuall bipartishanship in Congress. I recall Lott talking about the need for decent food on the Crescent (he was from MS). I don’t recall the specifics but I guess it was during one of Amtrak’s save a dime campaigns.

Of course Sen. Hutchinson actively supported a national rail systtem. I hope Mr. Dearborn took lessons. I wonder if he actively sought this position or if it was just the normal cronyism.

Posts: 2268 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
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TRAINS Newswire (subscriber content) has a report on recent Senate hearings considering Mr. Dearborn's credentials to sit on the Amtrak Board:

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  • Amtrak's focus on safety must be its highest priority. It's record must improve,” Dearborn told the committee.

    “Amtrak trains should be on time, clean, competitive, and a good option for travelers,” Dearborn said. "Long distance service is a critical part of the national passenger rail system. I am committed to it.”

    “I get the impression that Amtrak is being reduced, not built, because it's requiring taxpayer dollars,” U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., told Dearborn. “Do you think taxpayer dollars are necessary to keep Amtrak going?”

    “I can't predict whether or not Amtrak could operate without financial assistance,” Dearborn said. “I would hope that if we focus on creating a good product, then revenues will rise and the dependency on federal dollars would be less.”

    “If you had a choice between lowering operating losses and shutting down a long-distance line, what would you choose?” asked U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.

    “I hope I'm never faced with that decision,” Dearborn replied.
Well, "train freak" Dearborn (he has an extensive model railroad collection) certainly is skilled in one Washington trait - evasioneering. Seems like what Democrats from "flyover, and LD, country" couldn't get was too much in the way of straight answers.
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palmland
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Perhaps there is some hope for LD trains.

With the apparent increasing support from legislators, as reported elsewhere, I think, for better or worse, the public expects some semblance of an LD network for ‘their town’ or state. Economically viable? No. But, for many, they are considered essential for reasons that defy rational explanation. Let’s hope Anderson finds a graceful exit for the really poor performers, perhaps pieces of his corridors, and upgrades the remainder.

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yukon11
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An interesting blog from a TRAINS contributor back in March:

https://is.gd/6XUKIk

I think Mr. Anderson's mistake is to not only look at operating expenses (a good thing, of course) but to underrate the passenger revenue side of the equation. I think any upgrade in LD train services, equipment, and frequencies can have a significant effect on revenue.

An excerpt from the above article:

"It now seems like an important time to remind Amtrak and federal decision makers, and skeptical members of the public, why long-distance trains make more sense than multiple connecting short-distance trains on the same route and how the existence of an interconnected network enhances the utility of each train that comprises it."

Richard

Posts: 1601 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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