49 U.S.C. § 24308 - Use of facilities and providing services to Amtrak

Cite as:49 U.S.C. § 24308
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-135 (03/26/2020)
 
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(a) GENERAL AUTHORITY.-

(1) Amtrak may make an agreement with a rail carrier or regional transportation authority to use facilities of, and have services provided by, the carrier or authority under terms on which the parties agree. The terms shall include a penalty for untimely performance.

(2)

(A) If the parties cannot agree and if the Surface Transportation Board finds it necessary to carry out this part, the Board shall-

(i) order that the facilities be made available and the services provided to Amtrak; and

(ii) prescribe reasonable terms and compensation for using the facilities and providing the services.

(B) When prescribing reasonable compensation under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the Board shall consider quality of service as a major factor when determining whether, and the extent to which, the amount of compensation shall be greater than the incremental costs of using the facilities and providing the services.

(C) The Board shall decide the dispute not later than 90 days after Amtrak submits the dispute to the Board.

(3) Amtrak's right to use the facilities or have the services provided is conditioned on payment of the compensation. If the compensation is not paid promptly, the rail carrier or authority entitled to it may bring an action against Amtrak to recover the amount owed.

(4) Amtrak shall seek immediate and appropriate legal remedies to enforce its contract rights when track maintenance on a route over which Amtrak operates falls below the contractual standard.

(b) OPERATING DURING EMERGENCIES.-To facilitate operation by Amtrak during an emergency, the Board, on application by Amtrak, shall require a rail carrier to provide facilities immediately during the emergency. The Board then shall promptly prescribe reasonable terms, including indemnification of the carrier by Amtrak against personal injury risk to which the carrier may be exposed. The rail carrier shall provide the facilities for the duration of the emergency.

(c) PREFERENCE OVER FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION.-Except in an emergency, intercity and commuter rail passenger transportation provided by or for Amtrak has preference over freight transportation in using a rail line, junction, or crossing unless the Board orders otherwise under this subsection. A rail carrier affected by this subsection may apply to the Board for relief. If the Board, after an opportunity for a hearing under section 553 of title 5, decides that preference for intercity and commuter rail passenger transportation materially will lessen the quality of freight transportation provided to shippers, the Board shall establish the rights of the carrier and Amtrak on reasonable terms.

(d) ACCELERATED SPEEDS.-If a rail carrier refuses to allow accelerated speeds on trains operated by or for Amtrak, Amtrak may apply to the Board for an order requiring the carrier to allow the accelerated speeds. The Board shall decide whether accelerated speeds are unsafe or impracticable and which improvements would be required to make accelerated speeds safe and practicable. After an opportunity for a hearing, the Board shall establish the maximum allowable speeds of Amtrak trains on terms the Board decides are reasonable.

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