Accessibility links

Breaking News

US Commission Proposes $117B Plan to Improve Northeast Rail

FILE - An Amtrak train passes a New Jersey Transit train stopped to discharge and board passengers at Elizabeth train station in Elizabeth, N.J., along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, March 12, 2016,

A U.S. government commission Wednesday proposed a $117 billion, 15-year plan to remake the Northeast Corridor, the Boston-to-Washington rail route — the nation's busiest — with the goal of improving service by cutting travel times and boosting capacity.

The Northeast Corridor Commission — created by Congress and made up of state and federal transportation officials and officials with the National Railroad Passenger Corp., better known as Amtrak — said the route carried 800,000 passengers per day before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

In their statement, commission members argued the plan would help the economy by creating 1.7 million jobs and generating $90 billion in earnings between now and 2035 throughout the United States. They said it would also aid the climate change fight by eliminating the equivalent of 2.9 million car trips annually, replacing them with lower-carbon-emitting train travel.

The improvements would include repairs or upgrades to railroad tracks, tunnels, bridges and stations and offer faster train trips.

In its statement, the commission accounted for only $17 billion of the proposed $117 billion cost, saying the rest would “be shared between the federal government and states.”

The proposal came as the U.S. Senate was considering a bipartisan infrastructure spending plan. It is unclear if that deal would cover the funding gap in the rail proposal, though The Associated Press reported that analysts thought it could be a good start.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.