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Don Phillips, The National Picture - What's Happening in DC

RailPAC Annual Meeting, NARP Member Meeting


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Paul Dyson introduced Don Phillips remembering reading his work as the "Potomac Pundit."  Paul had read articles by Don in TRAINS magazine back in the UK.  Don has written for the International Hearld Tribune and Washington Post.

Maybe Mr. Phillips arrived in LA for this Conference via the Sunset Limited because he started by saying, "The Sunset has more air than most airports.  In El Paso - with 1 1/2 hrs layover - I could not find a mailbox!  You'd think someone at the Post Office would put one somewhere in the area for train passengers."

Being a freelance writer, he referred to Mr. Boardman's list of limitations put upon him by Congress etc., by commenting that he (Phillips) had no such limitations, he could say anything.

"Mr. Boardman is skillful at not answering what he is not prepared to anwer."

He posed this question to the audience, "Are things going slow?"

•  We have Obama who supports Amtrak
•  We have Mr. Boardman who has done some old (good) things, such as creating a new generation of safety.
•  PTC will not be in place by deadline - Congress will pay for PTC on freight lines because Amtrak runs on those lines
•  HSR is not first, upgrading the current railroads is needed first.
•  Why isn't Amtrak ordering cars by the hundreds and expanding the system...More sleeping cars and lower the price so we are not losing riders.
•  He is not impressed with Amtrak's front office (Brian Rosenwald excepted).
•  Amtrak needs a list of needed equipment.  Future budgets include $1 billion a year.
•  Recession is good for freight railroads.  Otherwise they'd be overburdened.  You can now get a seat in the diner on Amtrak.
•  CA and NC will put up money with Amtrak while the NE Corridor won't come to the table - they don't have to, they get the money without matching now.
•  When freight comes back, the US gov. will need to help them improve track signalling and dispatching.
•  He sees a need for less limiting of photography.  He noted to the audience that if they are hastled while photographing trains, contact:  That's Walter Zullig, former Special Counsel for Metro-North Railroad, who works with photographers as a pro bono lawyer.

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