Appeals Court Strikes Down 2008 Passenger Rail Improvement Act

By Andrew Harris | April 29, 2016 11:38AM ET
(Bloomberg) — A U.S. appeals court in Washington says a 2008 act of Congress that reauthorized Amtrak’s operations and was intended to improve its service unconstitutionally gave the passenger rail line power over freight railroads.
Three-judge panel on Friday struck down Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008.
Panel concludes law unlawfully allowed “an economically self-interested actor to regulate its competitors” for scarce track space.
Ruling is a victory for the Association of American Railroads, an industry group whose membership includes the BNSF Railway Co., Norfolk Southern Corp., U.S. operations of Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, also Union Pacific Corp., the largest publicly traded railroad.
Court’s related ruling in 2013 was reversed by U.S. Supreme Court last year.
The case is Association of American Railroads v. U.S. Department of Transportation, 12-5204, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit (Washington).