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Stephen Shirodkar
Stephen Shirodkar

Buy Amtrak Stock

Amtrak owns 2,142 railway cars and 425 locomotives for revenue runs and service, collectively called rolling stock. Notable examples include the GE Genesis and Siemens Charger diesel locomotives, the Siemens ACS-64 electric locomotive, the Amfleet series of single-level passenger cars, and the Superliner series of double-decker passenger cars.

buy amtrak stock


In 2004, a stalemate in federal support of Amtrak forced cutbacks in services and routes as well as the resumption of deferred maintenance. In fiscal 2004 and 2005, Congress appropriated about $1.2 billion for Amtrak, $300 million more than President George W. Bush had requested. However, the company's board requested $1.8 billion through fiscal 2006, the majority of which (about $1.3 billion) would be used to bring infrastructure, rolling stock, and motive power back to a state of good repair. In Congressional testimony, the DOT Inspector General confirmed that Amtrak would need at least $1.4 billion to $1.5 billion in fiscal 2006 and $2 billion in fiscal 2007 just to maintain the status quo. In 2006, Amtrak received just under $1.4 billion, with the condition that Amtrak would reduce (but not eliminate) food and sleeper service losses. Thus, dining service was simplified and now requires two fewer on-board service workers. Only Auto Train and Empire Builder services continue regular made-on-board meal service. In 2010 the Senate approved a bill to provide $1.96 billion to Amtrak, but cut the approval for high-speed rail to a $1 billion appropriation.[171]

The Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970, which established Amtrak, specifically states that, "The Corporation will not be an agency or establishment of the United States Government".[184] Then common stock was issued in 1971 to railroads that contributed capital and equipment; these shares convey almost no benefits,[185] but their holders[186] declined a 2002 buy-out offer by Amtrak. There are currently 109,396,994 shares of preferred stock, at a par value of $100 per share, all held by the US government. There are 9,385,694 shares of common stock, with a par value of $10 per share, held by four other railroad companies: APU (formerly Penn Central) 53%, BNSF (35%), Canadian Pacific (7%), and Canadian National (5%).[187][188]

Somewhere in the judicial fray it apparently was lost that Amtrak has never made a penny, likely never will, and shall always require taxpayer subsidies to keep its trains operating. The common stock represents ownership in something that long ago failed financially, but remains intact owing to taxpayer generosity tied to public interest and necessity and a willingness of Congress to keep the subsidies flowing.

When the FTA provides funding to a state or municipal government to undertake a transit project, Buy America requirements apply to the project as a whole (i.e. not only to the FTA-funded portion). The requirements are different depending on whether the project is for the purchase of rolling stock (defined as buses, subways, light rail, commuter rail, monorail, passenger ferryboats, trolleys, inclined railways, and people movers) or for non-rolling stock (for example a new subway station).

For non-rolling stock, all steel, iron and manufactured products procured with funding from the FTA must be entirely made in the U.S. For manufactured products to be considered produced in the U.S., all manufacturing processes for the product must take place in the U.S., and all components must be of U.S. origin. A component is considered of U.S. origin if it is manufactured in the U.S., regardless of the origin of its subcomponents.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) a $25.7 million Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair grant (SOGR Program) to acquire new passenger rolling stock for use on the Amtrak Hiawatha service. WisDOT will purchase three cab-coach cars and six coach cars with the grant, replacing equipment that is nearing the end of its useful life and that which is costly to maintain.

In 2013, I expounded on this very decision by borrowing a Swiss term: the triangle of rolling stock, infrastructure, and timetable. Planning for all three should be integrated. For example, plans for increases in capacity through infrastructure improvements should be integrated with plans for running more trains, with publicly circulated sample schedules. In this case, the integration involves rolling stock and infrastructure: at low infrastructure investment, as is the case today, there is no need for 300 km/h trainsets, whereas at high investment, high top speed is required but 7-degree tilt is of limited benefit. Instead of planning appropriately based on its expectations of near-term funding, Amtrak chose to waste about a billion dollars paying double for trainsets to replace the Acela.

For manufactured goods, including rolling stock, to be considered produced in the United States: (1) All of the manufacturing processes for the end product must take place in the United States; and (2) All of the components of the end product must be of U.S. origin. A component is considered of U.S. origin if it is manufactured in the United States, regardless of the origin of its subcomponents. (See FTA regulation: 49 C.F.R. 661.5(d)).

A component, including a rolling stock component, is considered to be manufactured in the United States if there are sufficient activities taking place in the United States to advance the value or improve the condition of the subcomponents of that component; that is, if the subcomponents have been substantially transformed into a new and functionally different article. (See FTA regulation: 49 C.F.R. 661.11(e)).

FRA developed lists of likely rolling stock components for use by grantees procuring rolling stock . Grantees should consult with FRA before issuing procurement notices for rolling stock to be certain their component list is appropriate for the type of railcars being procured.

In the east, remanufactured all-electric cars were introduced on routes such as the Crescent (New York-New Orleans) and Lake Shore Limited (New York/Boston-Chicago). Many of these older Coaches, Sleeping cars and Diners had been converted from steam power to electric head-end power. A converted 12-car set saved the company approximately $250,000 a year in fuel, maintenance and yard support costs. Within a year, all Amtrak rolling stock purchased from the predecessor railroads would be converted to head-end power.

Funding under Chapter 53 of Title 49 of the U.S. Code, administered by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for public transportation projects, may be obligated for a grantee project if the "steel, iron, and manufactured goods used in the project are produced in the United States."50 Regulations promulgated by the FTA further clarify this requirement.51 "The steel and iron requirements apply to all construction materials made primarily of steel or iron and used in infrastructure projects such as transit or maintenance facilities, rail lines, and bridges."52 However, the steel or iron requirements "do not apply to steel or iron used as components or subcomponents of other manufactured products or rolling stock, or to bimetallic power rail incorporating steel or iron components."53 The FTA has declined to attach a percentage at which a material becomes "made primarily of steel or iron." Instead, it has noted that "the definition [of made primarily of steel or iron] refers to construction or building materials made either principally or entirely from either steel or iron. All other manufactured products, even though they may contain some steel or iron elements, would not be covered."54

The FTA has additional authority to waive the requirements when funds are used to purchase rolling stock, which is defined as "transit vehicles such as buses, vans, cars, railcars, locomotives, trolley cars and buses, and ferry boats, as well as vehicles used for support services."68 A waiver for rolling stock may be issued if the FTA finds that (1) the cost of the components and subcomponents produced in the United States69 is more than 60% of the cost of all components of the rolling stock; and (2) final assembly of the rolling stock occurs in the United States.70 Similar to the public interest waiver discussed above, the FTA has issued a general waiver to the Buy America requirements when "foreign sourced spare parts for buses and other rolling stock ... whose total cost is 10 percent or less of the overall project contract cost are being procured as part of the same contract for the major capital item."71

Waivers may be issued if the FRA finds that (1) applying the Buy America requirements is inconsistent with the public interest; (2) domestically produced steel, iron, and manufactured goods are not produced in sufficient and reasonably available amounts or are not of satisfactory quality; (3) "rolling stock or power train equipment cannot be bought and delivered in the United States within a reasonable time"; or (4) using domestic materials will increase the cost of the overall project by more than 25%.82 Unlike the statutory provisions governing FTA funding, the FRA statute does not authorize a waiver when procuring rolling stock if the cost of the domestic components is more than 60% of the cost of all of the components.83

Additionally, Amtrak may receive an exemption from the Buy America requirements for rolling stock or power train equipment when those items "cannot be bought and delivered in the United States within a reasonable time."94

Amtrak, officially called the The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, is a corporation that was chartered by the U.S. government in 1970 (operation began May 1, 1971). The federal government owns the majority of the stock (source), but despite this, Amtrak is classified as an independent agency.

Amtrak began operations in May 1971 with a mixture of equipment from its predecessor railroads, much of which was painted in a variety of railroad-specific paint schemes. This era was later referred to as the Rainbow Era, due to the mix-matched colorful trains Amtrak used. Amtrak elected not to keep the same rolling stock on the same routes and it was not unexpected to find rolling stock from anywhere in the US on any train. To build the brand of Amtrak as a unified passenger railroad, the equipment was gradually repainted into system-wide Phases starting around 1972 with Phase I. 041b061a72




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