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U.S. DOT Issues 30-Year Investment Blueprint for Critical Passenger Rail Corridor

December 16, 2016

Release #16-26

For Immediate Release (#16-26)

Contact: Robert Brady – (202) 680-4951

WASHINGTON D.C. – The National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) applauded the release of the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) NEC Future report today, which outlines a 30-year investment plan to build a better and stronger Northeast Corridor (NEC). The report is the result of four years of intensive outreach to the public, local governments, and stakeholder groups such as NARP.

The FRA found broad agreement among all groups that the NEC’s current capacity is grossly inadequate, and a dramatic expansion in investment and capacity is urgently needed. The plan prioritizes bringing the existing NEC infrastructure to a state of good repair, then adding capacity and frequencies sequentially.

“While we’re unsurprised at the universal demand for more train service, NARP is gratified that the FRA went the extra mile in soliciting the opinions of everyday passengers. This corridor is a vital artery for the entire region, and identifying the right investment strategy will have massive consequences for U.S. economic growth in the 21st century,” said NARP President & CEO Jim Mathews. “We look forward to working with elected officials to provide the predictable, dedicated revenue this project will need to take the next steps. It’s clear that, given the interstate nature of the NEC, a strong federal partner will be required to bring this plan to fruition.”

The FRA outlined the following steps to increase reliability and provide more options for NEC passengers:

  • Adding new tracks to increase the Northeast Corridor to four tracks in most locations, which would allow for more frequent and faster service. Additional tracks would be added to areas with greater demand.
  • Providing intercity access to Philadelphia Airport so that passengers do not have to change trains at 30th Street.
  • Adding direct and frequent service to Hartford, Conn., and Springfield, Mass.
  • Increasing, and in some cases doubling, the number of regional trains and providing up to five times more intercity trains.

Additionally, the NEC Future recommends the following improvement to travel times:

  • Travel from Boston to New York City would be 45 minutes faster (total time of 2 hours, 45 minutes).
  • Travel from New York City to Washington, D.C., would be 35 minutes faster (total time of 2 hours, 10 minutes).

How quickly this project advances depends on the ability of federal and state officials, in partnership with Amtrak, to identify funding sources.

About the National Association of Railroad Passengers

NARP is the only national organization speaking for the nearly 40 million users of passenger trains and rail transit. We have worked since 1967 to expand the quality and quantity of passenger rail in the U.S. Our mission is to work towards a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. Our work is supported by more than 28,000 individual members nationwide.