Supreme Court says Amtrak is like part of government when it helps set on-time standards

IndustrialsAssociated Press

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.

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.

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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.