Digest: Legislation introduced to transfer Keystone Line ownership from Amtrak to Pennsylvania

News Wire Digest third section for Oct. 16: U.S. Supreme Court to hear railroad disability case; LA Metro to close station, operate shuttle bus for light rail construction project
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Still more Friday morning rail news:

Bill seeks to transfer Keystone Line from Amtrak to Pennsylvania

Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week would require Amtrak to transfer ownership of its Keystone Line between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa., to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Keystone Line for the Commonwealth Act would allow the line and some of its 12 stations to be managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The line currently receives $100 million in state funding annually. “I have constantly been disappointed by … Amtrak’s responsiveness and management of our local rail line,” U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster, Pa.), who introduced the bill, said in a press release. “Renovation and repair projects are consistently delayed and over budget and revenue generated by the line is sent out of the commonwealth to other states. … By granting Pennsylvania ownership of the Keystone Line, we can provide greater local control, accountability, and expand ridership opportunities.”

U.S. Supreme Court set to hear railroad disability case
The U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled arguments Nov. 2 in a railroad disability case that could affect other cases on how federal courts treat decisions by administrative law bodies. The financial site ThinkAdvisor reports the case, Salinas vs. U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, involves a man injured while working for the Union Pacific. He wants the federal courts to review the retirement board’s refusal to consider his request to reopen his disability case. Manfredo Salinas, after being turned down in applications for disability benefits in 1992 and 2006, was found to be old enough to receive retirement benefits in 2013, but denied retroactive disability benefits. The board’s Bureau of Hearings and Appeals refused to consider a request for the board to review the case, and the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to take case because Salinas had not received a true final decision from the Board because of its refusal to reopen the matter.

LA Metro to close station, run shuttle bus connection during light rail tunnel project
LA Metro’s Little Tokyo/Arts District light rail station will be permanently closed as of Oct. 24, and service on the L (Gold) Line will be interrupted for 22 months, as part of the Regional Connector Transit Project, which will build two 1.9-mile tunnels to connect the A (Blue), E (Expo) and L Lines. During the project, L Line trains will run between Azusa and LA Union Station, and the Pico/Aliso Station and the Atlantic Station in East Los Angeles, with a shuttle bus service connecting the two segments. More information on the project is available here.
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