Home Transit News Passenger Rail East Coast rail future laid out, but is far from paid for

East Coast rail future laid out, but is far from paid for

by Jason Laughlin, Staff Writer


A final plan to modernize and revamp Amtrak’s rails on the East Coast came out last week, but without funding, it may not get beyond a drafting table.

The Federal Railroad Administration’s Northeast Corridor Futures plan would bring faster service from Philadelphia to Washington and New York City, and create a link to Philadelphia International Airport for Amtrak. It also would straighten the Frankford Curve, in the Port Richmond section of the city, where an Amtrak train derailed in May 2015, killing eight people. The next step for the FRA is to prepare a service development plan for the proposal, but doing that requires funding, officials said, and the federal government will have to take the lead.

“Significant federal funding participation is needed to create incentives for states to participate,” said Richard Kirkpatrick, spokesman for PennDot. “Without that federal investment, it will be difficult to achieve the FRA vision” to improve the Northeast Corridor.

Politicians expressed hope in December that a campaign talking point of a $1 trillion infrastructure package from then-President-elect Trump could help make the Northeast Corridor Futures project a reality, but six months into Trump’s presidency, there has been little movement on a significant infrastructure bill.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R., Pa.), who heads the House Transportation Committee, did not reply to questions about federal infrastructure spending, nor did the U.S. Department of Transportation. Read more of the original article.

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