Infrastructure and the future of Amtrak.

Author:Woods, Kimberly D.
 
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Amtrak offers many benefits from free Wi-Fi, a generous baggage policy to freedom of movement while traveling. The Washington, DC, based company also offers government employees discount fares on travel along the Northeast Corridor.

The discount is available for passengers to travel between more than 70 stations using the Northeast Regional, daily service from Boston to Washington, DC, and the Keystone Service, daily service from New York City and Harrisonburg, Pennsylvania, with a stop in Philadelphia. Passengers may also use the discount on select Acela Express routes.

The Northeast Corridor, with 363 miles of Amtrak-owned infrastructure, is North Americas busiest railroad with 2,200 daily high-speed, commuter and freight trains. The infrastructure was largely built more than 100 years ago, and after 45 years of service, many of Amtrak's assets are at the end of their useful life.

Wick Moorman, Amtrak President and CEO, discussed infrastructure investment during a Senate hearing in Washington, DC. He called for a new era of investment in Amtrak's infrastructure, fleet, and stations, which are critical to the operations and future growth of passenger rail.

"The time is now to invest in our aging assets," Moorman testified. "More than ever, our nation and the traveling public rely on Amtrak for mobility, but the future of Amtrak depends on whether we can renew the cars, locomotives, bridges, tunnels, stations and other infrastructure that allows us to meet these growing demands."

Moorman noted in fiscal year 2016 Amtrak had record ridership of more than 31 million passengers and ticket revenues of $2.2 billion.

"We can get even better by relentlessly improving our safety culture, modernizing and upgrading our products and strengthening our operational efficiency and project delivery," he said.

Moorman stressed Amtrak's job is to deliver the services and run the network Congress and the Administration--the principal stakeholders--believe is worth the investment.

Noting Amtrak's list of investment needs is long, but provides considerable benefits to the traveling public and the national economy, Moorman outlined projects that warrant significant investment including:

Construction of the Portal North Bridge and new Hudson Tunnels, both parts of the larger Gateway Program that will ensure that 450 daily Amtrak and NJ Transit trains can continue to serve New York City from the south;

Construction of new B&P Tunnel and Susquehanna Bridge in...

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