Amtrak’s vision for N.E. Corridor: Bold, fast

Published: November 1, 2010

Faster than a bird and a plane is the vision of Amtrak President Joseph Boardman for future Amtrak high-speed service throughout the Northeast megalopolis, north from Washington, D.C., to Boston — a transportation corridor home to almost 50 million residents that represents more than 17 percent of the population on just 2 percent of the nations land area.

Boardman’s $117 billion vision, to be implemented over the next 30 years, is for Amtrak to operate trains up to 220-mph over a high-speed passenger-rail right-of-way linking Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston.

Using a combination of public and private investment, Boardman would like construction to begin in 2015 and be fully operational by 2040.

Faster than a bird or a plane? Birds dont carry people. And air travel, with its attendant check-in, boarding and runway delays, cannot match the center-city to center-city speed of high-speed rail.

Boardman envisions Amtrak whisking rail passengers between Philadelphia and New York in 38 minutes; New York and Boston in 84 minutes; and New York and Washington in 96 minutes. Average speed between New York and Boston would be 148-mph, and 137-mph between New York and Washington.

“This is the same bold vision that linked our east and west coasts by rail during the mid-19th century, and gave America the Interstate highway system during the mid-20th century,” said UTU International President Mike Futhey.

“The implementation of high-speed rail corridors throughout America already has the full support of President Obama, Vice President Biden and all in rail labor. It is a project our growing nation, beset with transportation congestion, cannot afford to delay,” Futhey said.

The project would entail some 420-miles of mostly dedicated high-speed rail right-of-way — more than 40 percent being new right-of-way.

 The new high-speed rail service, said Boardman, would require a $4.7 billion annual investment over 25 years and generate an annual operating surplus of $900 million for Amtrak. The project would create some 44,000 construction jobs annually through 2040.