The Southern Rail Commission (SRC) issues this statement to correct recent misleading and erroneous information reported by a few media outlets that have circulated regarding Corridor Capital, which has been falsely described as a “passenger rail operator.”
Recent news reports about a passenger rail provider locating in Montgomery, Alabama and starting multiple passenger services across the state have created serious concern among members of the Southern Rail Commission, and those who are advancing the efforts of passenger rail. These reports imply that the Southern Rail Commission was the source for information presented in these reports, and implied that the SRC is a supporter of these efforts. These reports were erroneous and misleading, and do not represent the official position of the Southern Rail Commission. The SRC does not currently have any business with Corridor Capital, nor pending business.
In fact, the SRC had one ten-minute presentation at a public meeting last year from Corridor Capital. No action was taken following their presentation, nor is any action expected. The SRC had no conversations or negotiations with them prior to, nor since, that time. In fact, in direct contradiction of comments made in the recent press stories about Corridor Capital “having existing operations for many years” in the Midwest and Northeast, their representative stated at the SRC meeting that they “do not operate any train services at this time.”
The SRC has enjoyed a strong partnership with Amtrak, who has shown record ridership in recent years and demonstrated increasing revenue. Our freight rail partners have indicated that they have had no conversations with Corridor Capital. Local and state elected officials have denied having more than a cursory conversation with Corridor Capital, and they have had no negotiations. Thus, the suggestion that Corridor Capital can operate passenger service within the next 18 months is suspect, at best.
While the SRC is very supportive of enhanced and improved passenger rail service from potential providers, we are committed to openness, honesty and accuracy, and we want to balance public expectations by providing reasonable timeframes for progress backed by data, analysis and studies. Our state and national leaders expect nothing less from us, and it is our goal to deliver that on behalf of our states.
The SRC has worked diligently over the past couple of years with our industry partners, including Amtrak, CSX, Norfolk Southern, and other freight railroads, along with the Federal Railroad Administration, with our Congressional delegations, and with state and local government and business leaders, to position our region for the return of passenger rail service – first along the Gulf Coast, and then for the return or development of other inter-city rail services.
We cannot overstate how vital each of these partners are to our efforts. The great working relationships that are being developed – and the strong grassroots support that is growing– provide our region with the best opportunity we have had in many years to see expanded passenger rail service become reality.
The SRC has an established protocol for public comments and the contact authorized to speak on behalf of the SRC is Greg White, Chair. Send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.