Kansas senator delays Amtrak board nominations, wants SW Chief commitment

Published: May 7, 2019

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R) of Kansas is putting a delay on the consideration by the U.S. Senate of three nominees to the Amtrak Board of Directors and wants a solid commitment from the carrier that the long-distance Southwest Chief route will be preserved.

Amtrak President and CEO Richard Anderson has arranged a meeting later in May with Moran and other senators who represent states that host the daily Chicago-to-Los Angeles route to discuss the Southwest Chief’s future, according to a report published by the Topeka Capital-Journal.

The three Amtrak board nominees are Rick Dearborn, Joseph Gruters and former U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland. SMART TD opposes Westmoreland’s nomination.

The future of the Southwest Chief has been uncertain with Amtrak leadership first targeting it because of Positive Train Control concerns and a proposed “bus bridge” being looked at as an option to avoid placing the technology on some trackage. Last year, U.S. senators had to pressure the carrier to continue the route, which serves many rural areas, through the 2019 fiscal year.

Read the full story on the Topeka Capital-Journal website.