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17 impairments may hinder the intent of Congress in expanding the âregarded asâ prong in the ADAAA.55 G. Transportation and Civil Rights 220 A 2013 article by the American Association of People with Disabilities emphasizes the key roles played by transportation and mobility âin the struggle for civil rights and equal opportunity in the disability community.â56 III. AMTRAK 222 A. Introduction 222 The 1970 Rail Passenger Service Act (PRSA or Amtrak Act) created the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), a federally funded, private company.57 Sections B through D discuss the Amtrak Act and the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIAA), as well as the 1997 repeal of Amtrakâs exclusive franchise. Sections E through H discuss judicial decisions involving Amtrak. Sections I through K summarize articles addressing Amtrakâs exemption from claims under the False Claims Act, Amtrak tax exemptions, and high-speed rail. Statutes 223 B. Amtrak Act 223 Under the Amtrak Act, Amtrak is defined as a railroad carrier operated and managed as a for-profit corporation that is not a department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States government.58 55 Michelle A. Tavis, Impairment as Protected Status: A New Universality for Disability Rights, 46 GA. L. REV. 937, 971 (2012). 56 American Association of People with Disabilities, Equity in Transportation for People with Disabilities, available at http://www.aapd.com/resources/publications/transportation-disabilities.pdf (last accessed Mar. 31, 2015). 57 FRA, Amtrak, available at https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0052 (last accessed Mar. 31, 2015). 58 49 U.S.C. Â§ 24301 (2014).
18 C. Repeal of Amtrakâs Exclusive Franchise in 1997 224 Although the Amtrak Act âprovided Amtrak with the exclusive right to provide intercity rail passenger service over the corridors that it operated,â Amtrakâs âexclusive franchiseâ was repealed in 1997.59 D. The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 224 The PRIAA was enacted to improve Amtrakâs service, operations, and facilities in respect to its long-distance routes, the Northeast Corridor (NEC), and state-sponsored corridors; encourage the development of high-speed rail corridors; and authorize grants to Amtrak to cover operating costs and certain capital investments.60 Cases 227 E. Private Corporation or Public Entity? 227 The issue of Amtrakâs status as defined in 49 U.S.C. Â§ 24301 was litigated most recently in Department of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads,61 decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 9, 2015, in which the Court held that Amtrak was a governmental entity for purposes of Section 207 of PRIAA. 1. Decision by the District of Columbia Circuit 228 In Association of American Railroads v. United States Department of Transportation,62 the Association of American Railroads (AARR) argued before the District of Columbia Circuit that Section 207 of PRIIA was unconstitutional. The appeals court held that Amtrak is a private corporation because âCongress has both designated it a private corporation and instructed that it be managed so as to maximize profit.â63 In reversing the district courtâs grant of a summary 59 Federal Railroad Administration, Privatization of Intercity Rail Passenger Service in the United States, at 4 (Mar. 1998), available at www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Document/2759 (last accessed Mar. 31, 2015). 60 Federal Railroad Administration Overview, Highlights and Summary of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA), at 1, 2 (prepared Mar. 10, 2009), available at https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L02830 (last accessed Mar. 31, 2015). 61 135 S. Ct. 1225, 191 L. Ed. 2d 153, 2015 U.S. LEXIS 1763, at *1 (U.S., Mar. 9, 2015). 62 721 F.3d 666, 670 (D.C. Cir. 2013), rehearing denied, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20746 (D.C. Cir., Oct. 11, 2013), rehearing, en banc, denied, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20745 (D.C. Cir., Oct. 11, 2013), vacated and remanded, Depât of Transp. v. Assân of Am. R.R., 135 S. Ct. 1225, 191 L. Ed. 2d 153, 2015 U.S. LEXIS 1763 (U.S., Mar. 9, 2015). 63 Association of American Railroads, 721 F.3d at 674, 677.
19 judgment for the Department of Transportation (DOT), the court held that Section 207 of PRIIA was unconstitutional. 2. Decision by the United States Supreme Court 229 On March 9, 2015, the Supreme Court reversed the appeals court, held that âfor purposes of determining the validity of the metrics and standards, Amtrak is a governmental entity,â64 and further held that on remand the Court of Appeals would have to address âsubstantial questions respecting the lawfulness of the metrics and standards--including questions implicating the Constitutionâs structural separation of powers and the Appointments Clause.â65 F. Exemption of Amtrak from State Public Utility Rules 230 In City of New York v. Amtrak,66 a federal district court in the District of Columbia held that Amtrak was not obligated by reason of a 1906 deed to maintain the bridge in dispute in perpetuity because any such agreement was preempted by federal law. G. Preemption of a Negligence Claim Relating to Service but Not of a 232 Claim for Negligent Design of a Railcar In Rubietta v. Amtrak,67 the court held that the plaintiffâs claim for negligent seating was preempted because the claim related to service, but that a claim based on alleged negligent design was not preempted. H. Express and Implied Preemption of Condemnation of 233 Amtrak Property In Amtrak v. McDonald,68 when Amtrak sued the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation in connection with its condemnation of Amtrak land, the court granted the Commissionerâs motion for summary judgment on several grounds, including the defendantâs immunity under the Eleventh Amendment. Articles 234 I. Amtrak Exemption from Claims Under the False Claims Act 234 64 135 S. Ct. 1225, 191 L. Ed. 2d 153, 156, 2015 U.S. LEXIS 1763, at *1, 6 (U.S., Mar. 9, 2015). 65 Id., 191 L. Ed. 2d at 156, 2015 U.S. LEXIS 1763, at *6. 66 960 F. Supp. 2d 84, 90, 94â95 (D.D.C. 2013). 67 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12047, at *1, 9â11, 12 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 30, 2012). 68 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144107, at *1, 25 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 26, 2013).