Amtrak Kicks Off Ready to Build Campaign

Amtrak launched a “Ready to Build” campaign this week to spotlight five critical investments that it is seeking to implement.

In a news release, the passenger carrier said the campaign emphasizes needed investments at major stations, including in Chicago Union Station, as well as in infrastructure along the Northeast Corridor.

The NEC carries 260 million intercity and commuter customers each year, but demand for passenger rail service continues to outpace investment, resulting in a backlog of more than $38 billion of deferred capital investments that risks future service expansion and reliability.

“The NEC is a central artery for the greater Northeast, which generates 20 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and is one of the country’s principle economic engines,” said Amtrak co-CEO Wick Moorman. “These major projects are critical to keeping people, the economy and the nation moving forward.”

Among the five critical infrastructure projects identified by Amtrak are:

Hudson Tunnel Project: Construction of a new Hudson River rail tunnel serving New York Penn Station will provide greater operational flexibility and infrastructure resiliency, following damage from Superstorm Sandy.

Portal North Bridge Project (New Jersey): Replacement of the century-old Portal Bridge with a new high-level, fixed-span bridge will result in faster trip times and greater reliability as well as eliminate the need to open for maritime traffic.

Major Stations Development (Northeast and Chicago): Leveraging public-private partnerships and underutilized land and air rights to transform 50+-year-old facilities into vibrant commercial transportation hubs.

Susquehanna River Bridge Project (Maryland): Replacement of existing two-track bridge with two new high-level bridges with a total of four tracks, allowing for increased speeds and eliminating the need to open for maritime traffic.

Baltimore & Potomac Tunnel Project (Maryland): Replacement of the Civil War-era, 30 mph bottleneck with a four-tube tunnel that allows for more reliable and more frequent service.

Amtrak is the majority owner of the NEC infrastructure and its connecting corridors, the NEC is a shared trans­portation asset that runs through eight states and the District of Columbia. It is used by Amtrak, eight commuter rail partners and multiple freight operators that together run nearly 2,200 daily trains.

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