WASHINGTON – A unanimous Supreme Court says Amtrak is more like a part of the government than a private corporation when it helps federal agencies craft rules to keep trains running on schedule.
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The justices ruled Monday that lower courts must consider Amtrak's status in deciding whether Congress can give the passenger rail company power to develop standards other private railroads must follow.
A 2008 law directs Amtrak to work with the Federal Railroad Administration to create standards that let Amtrak keep priority over freight trains along common railroad tracks. But a federal appeals court sided with the freight railroad industry, which said Amtrak was a private organization that could not regulate competitor's actions.
The Supreme Court reversed, saying Amtrak is like a government entity given the reality of federal controls.