Officials Discuss the Northeast Corridor
On Friday, February 15th the Congressional Bicameral High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Caucus held a briefing to discuss the future of the Northeast Corridor (NEC). The panel consisted of Mitch Warren of the Northeast Corridor Commission, Drew Galloway of Amtrak, and Paul Nissenbaum of the Federal Railroad Administration; each discussed their respective plans for the future of the Northeast Corridor, many of which include collaboration between the parties.
Being one of the busiest rail corridors in the Western Hemisphere, servicing approximately 17% of the United States population, the NEC is vital to America’s transportation industry and economy. Yet, some of the infrastructure dates back to the 1800’s. Mitch Warren cited the recently released report from the Northeast Corridor Commission that lays out the critical infrastructure issues with the NEC. The report targets thirty-seven critical points along the entire corridor that need to be updated or repaired. Moving forward, the Northeast Corridor Commission will release a Five Year Capital Program and an Economic Development report that will lay out a plan to begin to renew the infrastructure of the NEC.
While echoing the concerns of Drew Warren, Drew Galloway of Amtrak boasted the success of passenger rail in the NEC in 2012 and expressed his hope to continue that upward trend. In order to continue this success, Amtrak plans to institute an NEC upgrade program, focused on creating a state of good repair along the entire corridor. The second step in Amtrak’s plan is to begin to develop NextGen High Speed Rails along the corridor. Ultimately, this plan would lead to faster speeds and more frequent departures along the current corridor.
Paul Nissenbaum, Associate Administrator for Railroad Policy and Development at the FRA, recognized the need for repair and renewal along the NEC and discussed the FRA’s NEC FUTURE study that is currently underway. This study is aimed at creating a strategy to make the necessary updates to the NEC, improving passenger service, and instilling a long-term for the corridor’s rail service. The study hopes to produce a final Service Development Plan by 2015.
For the full Northeast Corridor Commission report click here.