A $4 billion train deal with China is bad for the rail industry, according to a report from a former Amtrak executive.
The report comes as the company is facing mounting pressure from Democrats and unions for a federal investigation into alleged misconduct by the former CEO and his company.
The report by former Amtrak Chairman Robert E. Cialdini and former vice president of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Mark Mazzetti said that the deal is a bad deal for the nation’s railroads, especially the Northeast Corridor (which is one of the major rail corridors for passenger trains) because it is a large, sprawling project.
Amtrak is a train service provider and therefore a large portion of its revenue comes from passengers traveling on its trains.
In its report, the Cialdsini-Mazzetti report cited the Amtrak’s $2.2 billion investment in Northeast Corridor infrastructure, which includes rail lines, tunnels, stations, bridges, and track maintenance.
“The new Northeast Corridor corridor is going to be a significant contributor to future growth and prosperity in the Northeast,” Cialdo said.
The railroad is a major driver of the region’s economy and will play a critical role in maintaining the region as a transportation hub, according the report.
The $4.5 billion deal with the Chinese National Railway Corporation (CNRC) to build a new railroad in the Southeast of the country is a massive investment.
It will add a total of 13 new lines to Amtrak’s fleet of trains, including two new lines in South America, six in Europe, and one in Asia, according a news release from the CTC.
[Source: Amtrak News Release, 11/18/16] The $3.5-billion rail deal with Japan’s Hitachi to build the country’s first bullet train from Shanghai to Shanghai, the country of President-elect Donald Trump, is also under scrutiny.
According to Cialduini-Milan, Hitachi was already a major investor in Amtrak and has made a series of significant investments in the railroad.
In a recent letter to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Hitachi said it was willing to commit to investing $2 billion over 10 years to improve the track infrastructure of the Amtrak Northeast Corridor.
In that same letter, Hitachis senior vice president for public affairs said the company was ready to commit $2,000,000 annually for 30 years to the project.
Hitachi has been the largest investor in the Amtrak network, which is now the largest rail network in the world.
Hitachises track infrastructure has been described as among the world’s most advanced, and the company has built an impressive network of high-speed lines.
The Hitachi-run line, the China Southern Line, is a bullet train that runs at a speed of up to 186 miles per hour (340 kilometers per hour).
It is one train per day and is scheduled to reach its destination in 2020.
[National Review, 11, 12/16/16; Hitachi letter, accessed 9/10/17] As we previously reported, Amtrak had a major train crash in the 1990s and a recent report shows that Amtrak’s train safety is still in the red.
[Politico, 12:04 PM EST, 12 December 2016] The $7.6 billion deal that Amtrak struck with Chinese railroads is also in the news, and is also likely to raise concerns.
The deal, which was finalized in late August, would see Amtrak use its $4 trillion in annual revenue to purchase more than 100,000 new passenger trains, according Reuters.
The train purchase is expected to cost $5.5 trillion, including $2 trillion in federal funds.
The trains would be made from steel that is commonly used in passenger trains and would cost about $200,000 per train.
Amtrak would also be given the right to lease the trains, which could make the deal more attractive to companies like Chinese rail companies.
[Reuters, 12 August 2016] On Wednesday, a Senate panel approved the $7 billion Amtrak acquisition.
The panel voted unanimously to approve the deal.
The vote came after Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, told reporters the panel was going to approve it because “the rail industry is not going to do anything to hurt” the Amtrak deal.
“We know from experience what works, what doesn’t work,” Thune said.
“And we know the railroads are going to make this deal work.”
The Senate Finance Committee voted 7-3 on the bill to approve a $7-billion Amtrak acquisition, the second-largest acquisition ever made by the Senate.
[CNN, 12 October 2016]The Senate also approved the sale of 10,000 of the train cars, which will be used to buy about a million more Amtrak cars.
The sale is the largest Amtrak acquisition ever, and will be worth more than $20 billion. [