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Freight vs. passenger rail – POLITICO | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #hacking | #aihp

With help from Alex Daugherty and Tanya Snyder

— The Biden administration wants to fundamentally reshape passenger rail. Freight railroads could derail that vision.

— American Airlines and JetBlue must unwind a merger after a federal judge in Boston ruled in favor of the Justice Department in a rare win for DOJ.

— The House Transportation Committee will mark up its supply chain package, which includes 18 bills on issues from commercial driver’s license exams to environmental reviews at ports.

IT’S MONDAY: You’re reading Morning Transportation, your Washington policy guide to everything that moves. I’m your host, Kayla Guo. Send tips, thoughts, song lyrics and recipes you like to [email protected]. Find us on Twitter @kaylaguo_, @alextdaugherty and @TSnyderDC.

“She’s Amtrak and ain’t coming back / She’s Amtrak and ain’t coming back / She took everything she wanted in an old gunny sack / She’s Amtrak and ain’t coming back.”

FREIGHTS VS. AMTRAK: Democrats want to transform passenger rail in America, with $66 billion in infrastructure law funding to do it. But President Joe Biden’s vision for rail — a much bigger network that offers a reliable alternative to gas-guzzling cars — could fall apart unless freight railroads, which have been hyper-focused on their own profitability, play ball. Your MT host has more.

— Expanding passenger service outside the Northeast Corridor will mean running on freight track — but freights have fought expansions in the past, and hashing out how much Amtrak will have to pay to access freight lines can take years. And as the administration seeks to meet the infrastructure law’s new mandate to expand passenger rail, freight railroads could drag out that process and ultimately make it Congress’ problem to resolve.

“There’s very little motivation again on the side of the freight rail people,” said former Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). “There has to be something to bring them to the table, and it isn’t, you know, being good neighbors.”

— Railroads have had “productive conversations” with the Biden administration about how the infrastructure law’s “priorities can be best implemented to balance the need to move more goods and people over rail,” a spokesperson for the Association of American Railroads said. Projects are more likely to succeed “if all parties are at the table from the beginning of the process. This path must not be seen as a barrier, but rather a means to achieve what we all want — the long-term success of passenger rail service and a healthy freight rail system that powers the nation’s economy.”

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