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RESOLUTION AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

JOINT HOUSE RESOLUTION

State of Vermont

House of Representatives

Montpelier, Vermont

Joint House Resolution


J.R.H.  17

Joint resolution relating to legislative approval for purchase of equipment for Amtrak Vermont services

Offered by:  Committee on Transportation

Whereas, Vermont faces significantly escalating costs of continuing the existing state-sponsored Amtrak services, and

Whereas, the administration’s proposal to purchase new equipment to be used in a demonstration project for a reconfigured Vermonter service will lower the long-term costs of continuing the Amtrak services as well as afford the state flexibility in responding to changing travel demand, and

Whereas, in Sec. 20 of No. 175 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006), the general assembly directed the Vermont agency of transportation not to purchase, contract for construction, or otherwise contract for the use of any railroad locomotion or rolling stock equipment intended for use in connection with Amtrak services without the approval of the general assembly, and

Whereas, Amtrak is prepared to enter into a three-year demonstration project to deliver rail passenger service on the “Vermonter” route between New Haven, CT and St. Albans, VT, utilizing diesel multiple unit (DMU) equipment, and

Whereas, Amtrak completed an exhaustive competitive procurement process in 2003 that resulted in the selection of Colorado Rail Car and Vermont intends to utilize the results of that procurement process, and

Whereas, $17.5 million in financing for this demonstration project is available to the state of Vermont through the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan program administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and

Whereas, Amtrak is prepared to provide a grant of $2 million to assist the state of Vermont with certain costs related to the demonstration project, including transition costs, maintenance facilities, marketing, engineering oversight, and service improvements for Vermont stations, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly approves the state of Vermont’s purchase, through the agency of transportation, of five Colorado Rail Car units, consisting of three motorized units and two passenger cars to be used for one trip per day in each direction in the state for the demonstration project, subject to the following conditions:

(1)  The DMU equipment selected by Amtrak through a competitive procurement process in 2003 must be utilized;

(2)  The purchase contract entered into with Colorado Rail Car shall include an option to purchase future equipment and the option shall include pricing protections;

(3)  The DMU equipment must meet or exceed FRA current structural safety requirements; 

(4)  The DMU equipment must comply with accessibility standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA);

(5)  Financing for the demonstration project must be available under the FRA’s RRIF program;

(6)  The vendor of the DMU equipment must agree, should the state of Vermont determine that the demonstration project is unsuccessful, to act as the state’s agent to sell the DMU equipment at a minimum of 90 percent of the purchase price and, should the DMU equipment not sell within one year, to purchase the DMU equipment back at 90 percent of the purchase price; and

(7)  The contract for construction and purchase of the DMU equipment must be approved by the state treasurer and include financial guarantees to assure successful manufacture and delivery of the DMU equipment, as well as performance of the vendor’s undertakings to sell or buy back the DMU equipment, should the state determine that the demonstration project is unsuccessful, and be it further

Resolved:  That the trains authorized by this joint resolution shall stop in Connecticut only in Hartford and New Haven, unless other stops have an annual volume of 20,000 or more passengers, or unless Connecticut contributes toward the costs of additional stops, and be it further

Resolved:  That if an agreement is reached with any other states to contribute to additional Connecticut stops, the agency of transportation is directed to report to the house and senate committees on transportation if the general assembly is in session, or, if not in session, to the joint transportation oversight committee, and be it further

Resolved:  That the agency of transportation is directed to enter into discussions with the other northeastern states, principally Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, regarding cost sharing for Amtrak service, scheduling, and route selections, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of transportation is directed to develop a plan for successful marketing and management of the new Amtrak passenger service by January 15, 2008, and is further directed to assemble a group to coordinate all modes of public and private transportation relating to passenger train travel in the state, including discussions regarding scheduling and route selections.  This group shall consult with the Vermont rail council and its sub group.  The group shall consist of a member from each of the following:  the rail division of the agency of transportation, the Vermont public transit association, the Vermont truck and bus association, the Vermont rail council, the Vermont department of tourism and marketing, the Vermont ski area association, and the Vermont league of cities and towns, and be it further

Resolved:  That the agency of transportation is directed to review the final contracts with Amtrak and Colorado Rail Car prior to their execution, with the house and senate committees on transportation, and be it further

Resolved:  That the agency of transportation is directed to present the management and marketing plan to the house and senate committees on transportation, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Neale Lunderville, secretary of the agency of transportation.       

 

____________________________              Attested to:

Gaye R. Symington

Speaker of the House

 

____________________________              ____________________________

Brian E. Dubie                                             Donald G. Milne

President of the Senate                               Clerk, House of Representatives



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us