VARP home page
Virginia Association of Railway Patrons
Modern Transportation for the Virginias
Amtraks Huntington, WV, Civic Conversation
From VARPs On Track newsletter, summer 2011
Summarized from a report by J. Charles Riecks, Chair, Friends of the Cardinal
Officials from Amtrak; state and city officials from Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Iowa, and Kansas; rail advocates; and representatives from the offices of certain members of Congress from West Virginia attended a meeting on
John Bender and Joseph Rago, both of Amtrak, gave a major presentation on Amtrak stations and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Rago discussed the difficulties of complying with the acts platform requirements. Uncertainty over the scope and timing of proposed platform requirements has caused uncertainty and delay for numerous station projects, he said. The best practices portion of this presentation outlined the process that communities need to follow if they are interested in updating, remodeling, or perhaps even building a new structure to be used as an Amtrak stop.
Mike Angelo, Amtraks Senior Director of Real Estate Development, spoke about appropriate development in and around stations. His remarks were probably best summed up when he observed, This is rail estate, not real estate.
Matthew Kelly from Amtrak spoke about federal programs that communities can tap for funding to renovate train stations that are publicly owned. He noted that several tax credit programs are available for stations that are privately owned. He said that if a station is on a historic preservation list, a station project is eligible for special sources of funding.
The formal program concluded with three presentations: The Mayor of