Amtrak’s profitable Northeast Corridor is where Pennsylvania Republican Bill Shuster wants the priority for federal investment in passenger rail — even if that may mean cuts to money-losing long-distance trains. TCU maintains that full funding is required for long-distance service as well.
“This is the jewel in Amtrak’s crown,” Shuster said, referring to the Northeast Corridor during a news conference on an Acela Express platform at Washington’s Union Station. “This is the place we ought to focus.”
The 2008 rail authorization expires at the end of September, and Amtrak officials are seeking billions of dollars in federal assistance to upgrade bridges, tunnels and other connections as part of a plan to boost top speeds along the corridor to 220 miles per hour from the current 150 mph.
In a recent meeting for the House Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee, Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman said, “We have strong relationships with our partners and I am confident that we can make a program work- given adequate investment, the real challenge is whether the money can be made available to address the very real needs of this railroad.”
TCU President Bob Scardelletti said, “TCU fully supports Amtrak’s proposal for increased capital funding to upgrade the Northeast Corridor. Such improvements are sorely needed. But we will fight with everything we have to make sure any such appropriations do not come at the expense of long distance service, where so many of our members work and where Amtrak often is the preferred transportation mode for isolated communities.”
Click here to view the full statement of Amtrak President Boardman.