With the need for transportation across the country that is both environmentally friendly AND convenient continuing to grow, Amtrak has announced plans to heavily invest in their Northeast Corridor rail system in order to increase ridership now from its current 33 million to an impressive 66 million by the year 2040.
The announcement for this investment was made very recently by Amtrak CEO, Stephen Gardner after Amtrak was awarded billions in funding from the U.S. Government as part of the Infrastructure and Jobs Act. The $5.5 billion investments planned to make inter-city travel easier than ever are focusing on modernizing trains, enhancing stations, tunnels, and bridges, and upgrading critical infrastructure; such as the Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program and East River Tunnel Rehab Project.
In addition to these improvements, Amtrack also announced that it plans to invest in advancing “megaprojects” such as the expansion of New York Penn Station and the redevelopment of Washington Union Station! According to Amtrak, the Union Station revamp project, along with the New York Penn Station expansion, have the potential to radically transform inter-city travel in the Northeast.
One of the other local projects that has received funding as part of this recent round of investment will be the Long Bridge Project over the Potomac River, which will connect D.C. and Virginia in order to remove what is considered a major bottleneck for rail travel along the East Coast. Currently, it’s unclear how much funding as been provided by Amtrak to this project, but according to recent analysis the project was estimated to cost a total of around $2.3 billion to complete with an expected opening in 2030.
One other subtle investment, which may not make travel significantly faster, but much more enjoyable, is Amtrak’s plan to make a “significant makeover” to their food and beverage services in order to provide “more offerings that our customers want”. An additional plus is that a sizeable investment is also being made into their customer service, which means passengers can expect an even more pleasurable travel experience than they have in the past!
While the goal of these investments is to attract new riders in order to double Amtrak ridership, the end result of bridging communities and establishing fast, convenient, and sustainable transportation between cities is something we are extremely excited about!