Amtrak Chairman urges Congress to fund long-term capital investments for intercity rail service to improve economy and quality of life
WASHINGTON – Congress should focus on ways to unlock intercity passenger rail’s potential by providing predictable, dedicated funding to develop and implement capital investments for the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and other rail corridors between America’s major metropolitan areas, Chairman of Amtrak’s Board of Directors Anthony R. Coscia testified today before a U.S. Senate committee.
“Amtrak’s growth over the past ten years, especially on intercity corridors between 100- 500 miles, hints at the tremendous opportunity of developing a robust, nationwide passenger rail system focused on city pairs,” Coscia stated. “In such corridors throughout the globe, highspeed and higher-speed trains are not only an essential mode of transportation, but also a significant driver of local development and economic growth. America should fully embrace investments in passenger rail as a tool to strengthen our economy and improve the quality of our lives.”
He explained that despite the extraordinary growth in passenger rail demand in recent years, there is an unmet demand for high-quality rail service and the Federal government has declined to establish a dedicated, long-term funding mechanism for rail comparable to the funding programs that have supported other modes of transportation.
Coscia said that when the new Congress convenes in January, it should consider approving the creation of a Transportation Trust Fund that recognizes the importance of intercity passenger rail in the nation’s transportation landscape, along with other modes of transportation. He noted that the United States’ transportation system is at a crossroads, as the investments that brought our nation into modernity in the last century reach the ends of their useful lives. A multi-year funding mechanism also would enable Amtrak to build major capital projects that would enable faster, more reliable rail travel between city pairs, contributing significantly to the nation’s economic growth. “The key is capital investment – not just to sustain the legacy transportation systems that helped deliver our nation’s economic success over the 20th century, but those that will help us to sustain America’s transportation needs in the decades ahead,” he said. A copy of his full written testimony is attached and can be found here.
Amtrak is America’s Railroad®, the nation’s intercity passenger rail service and its high-speed rail operator. Amtrak and its state and commuter partners move people, the economy and the nation forward. Formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak is governed by a nine member board of directors appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Anthony R. Coscia is board chairman and Jeffrey R. Moreland is vice chairman. In FY 2014, nearly 31 million passengers traveled on Amtrak on more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Enjoy the journey® at Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information. Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter (@Amtrak) and check out our blog at blog.amtrak.com.