A ruling by the Supreme Court early this week was left unclear as to whether or not Amtrak is authorized to set in place performance standards on its own as part of a government effort to enhance passenger rail performance.
The case involved challenging a 2008 law that gave complete power of the passenger rail firm to co-create minimum standards and metrics to directly address delays and poor service. Private railroad firms said that Congress didn’t properly delegate regulatory authority to a private firm, allowing Amtrak (a government-owned entity) an unfair advantage over them.
If Amtrak doesn’t meet performance standards, railroads sharing the same tracks may be penalized for not contributing enough to cater to Amtrak trains.
When making a ruling on Amtrak being a government entity, the SC said that questions regarding constitutional performance standards may still be within the case.
All 9 justices voted to push the case back for further proceedings.
With high takes seen on both sides of the legal battle, it appears that case may likely make its way back to the SC for the final ruling.