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Event Date
2013-03-15 10:00 - 2013-03-15 12:00
Frank N. Wilner
About the Speaker(s)

Frank N. Wilner

Frank is an economist and journalist who has written six books on railroad economics, labor relations and public policy, discussed his latest book, “Amtrak: Past, Present, Future,” published by Simmons-Boardman Books of Omaha, Neb.

Wilner discussed the book in the context of how railroads have been a change agent in American public policy, being the first industry subject to economic, safety and labor relations regulation, the first subject to injured-worker compensation, and the first  the first required to provide retirement/pension plan predating Social Security. The reasons for creation of Amtrak were examined, as well as the public policy fights that have bedeviled Amtrak and its yearly begging treks to Capitol Hill to keep its passenger trains operating.

Wilner also discussed the little-known matter of Amtrak’s common stock, which is held by an insurance conglomerate, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, and how the common stock ownership may prevent privatization of Amtrak and its Northeast Corridor that connects Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York and Boston. He also reviewed some of the dreadful marketing/finance decisions of Amtrak and what he calls the “dreadful” decisions of the Obama administration with regard to creating higher- and high-speed rail in the United States.

Railway Age magazine once described Wilner as perhaps the only person who has interacted with railroads from myriad perspectives – as a railroad officer, a White House appointed regulator, a journalist and rail-union official. Wilner also is the author of “Understanding the Railway Labor Act,” and “Railroad Mergers: History, Analysis, Insight.”

Please note that Dr. Francis P. Mulvey, Surface Transportation Board Commissioner, who was joining Frank Wilner to talk about the Amtrak in great depth at the Friday’s seminar, will not be able to travel because of the budgetary constraints caused by sequestration.

UTRC presented a Visiting Scholar Seminar with the transportation expert, Frank N. Wilner; an economist and a jounalist. He shared his perception on the American railroad industry with an insight into Wilner's latest book, "Amtrak: Past, Present, Future".