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16 Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors Tennessee; and the North County Transit District service between San Diego and Oceanside, California--operate over short-line or publicly owned tracks. When funding is available, a way can be found. 2.2.6 Educating Public Officials Uninformed comments by state and local government officials and legislators concerning access to a railroad corridor can damage relations with the freight railroad even before discus- sions begin. The railroad's response can be similar to that of a family learning through the press that the highway department intends to take its front yard to widen a highway. It is therefore important that public officials have a basic understanding of the freight rail business, the chal- lenges railroads face in their operations, and problems in their current business environment that have special bearing on passenger service. Early in the process, the passenger rail agency should establish an educational outreach effort to interested agencies, legislative committees, individual legislators, and other interested parties. The focus should be on general issues of estab- lishing a shared-corridor passenger service rather than the specifics of the proposed service. Some particular issues that should be addressed include: Understanding that active railroad property cannot normally be taken by eminent domain, so an agreement acceptable to both parties is essential. Amtrak does have a limited right of emi- nent domain, but this has only been invoked once, where a host railroad allowed severe track degradation and persistently refused to take steps to correct the problem. A realistic understanding of likely railroad expectations for liability protection and the approaches other passenger agencies have taken to reach agreement on this issue. The need for confidential negotiations and careful public communications planning during the negotiation process. Understanding the differences between implementing Amtrak intercity and commuter service on a freight railroad ROW. A realistic understanding of likely capital and operating costs. Under present U.S.DOT grant policies, grants can be applied to only capital expenses. Operating funds for both intercity and commuter services must be provided from local and state sources. Beyond these points, however, the officials or staff directly responsible for moving the process forward must acquire more in-depth knowledge. The education process needs to start early; agency staff members new to passenger service are unlikely to be fully aware of what they need to know. Education should include review of both written materials (as referenced in this Guidebook) and one or more briefings from knowledgeable people. Amtrak, a state DOT, or another passenger rail agency can be the source of the necessary expertise. The education process will not only prepare officials for negotiation but also help them develop realistic service proposals, which can lead to mutually acceptable agreements with railroads. Passenger rail agency staff needs a clear understanding of not only the basics of the railroad busi- ness, but also the current issues that affect railroads' attitudes towards passenger service. Clearly the negotiating environment has become more challenging in recent years, and this trend could continue. Access to freight railroad track and rights-of-way for passenger service is becoming harder and more costly to secure. The sources of this increasing difficulty include: The freight railroads have increased concern over their exposure to passenger-related liability. This concern is not directly caused by a specific passenger train accident or related court ruling, but rather the general increase in liability costs related to railroad accidents. Recent examples are the Graniteville, South Carolina, hazardous materials accident on the Norfolk Southern Railway system, and the passenger accidents at Glendale and Chatsworth, California, on the Metrolink commuter system around the Los Angeles area. This concern leads to demands for very high indemnification levels, as discussed later in this section.

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Getting Started and Negotiations 17 Rail freight traffic is continuing to increase and investment in freight capacity is needed to handle this traffic. The surge in freight traffic since the mid-1990s took some railroads by sur- prise, leading to congestion problems and costly investments to increase capacity. This situa- tion makes railroads either very reluctant to commit capacity for passenger service on any line that might be required in the foreseeable future or likely to demand a high price for that capac- ity. The most common position taken by the railroads is that the passenger rail agency should provide capacity investments to replace capacity consumed by the proposed passenger oper- ation. The railroad may make the argument that failing to provide adequate freight capacity may displace freight onto the highways. The prosperity of the railroad industry is increasing the return on rail investment and, at the same time, attracting investors that place pressure on railroad management to maximize return on their assets. This situation is likely to increase railroad reluctance to commit capacity to passenger service. Railroads have a generalized concern that allowing public investment in their infrastructure may compromise their future ability to respond to business opportunities and earn good profits. This fear has been heightened by public statements and publication of reports calling for extensive passenger-related investment in the existing freight network, more extensive public funding in the railroad network in general, and possible re-regulation of freight rates. However, freight railroad attitudes and concerns are likely to evolve over time. The sharp freight traffic reductions during the economic downturn of 20082009, the availability of real fed- eral government funding for intercity passenger rail, and continuing debate on both rail freight regulations and the shape of future surface transportation legislation all have the potential to change these attitudes. Although not strictly related to shared railroad operations, research for this Guidebook has shown that relationships with intercity bus service operations and transit services in larger met- ropolitan areas can be important elements in developing a well-patronized passenger rail service and should receive serious consideration in planning passenger rail services. These relationships can take several forms: dedicated bus services extending the reach of the rail service to communi- ties where direct rail service would be impractical, joint scheduling and ticketing arrangements with parallel and connecting commercial bus operators, and joint ticketing and connecting arrangements with regional commuter and transit agencies. Some examples are given in Case Studies 2, primarily taken from California, which has been a leader in this area. CASE STUDIES 2 Bus Service Connections and Cooperation Caltrans has set up connecting bus services from several points on state-sponsored Amtrak corridor services, most notably for the San Joaquin and Capitol corridors. The Amtrak-branded buses provide connections to communities off the rail line and are only available to rail passengers. In the case of the San Joaquin corridor, the bus service also provides a connection between Bakersfield and Los Angeles, where direct rail service would be very slow. Another bus service on this route runs between Stockton and Sacramento, supplementing a limited direct rail service. The bus services have been very successful in increasing ridership and the general usefulness of passenger rail service. The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA), which oversees the Downeaster service, has agreements with two commercial bus operators. Both operate services generally parallel to the Downeaster route, and one has a route network that goes beyond Portland, Maine, to communities farther north and