Home Transit News Passenger Rail Penn Station project shows Amtrak’s efficiency, and need for infrastructure investment

Penn Station project shows Amtrak’s efficiency, and need for infrastructure investment

Photo: RICHARD DREW / ASSOCIATED PRESS The rail interlocking and trans-Hudson tunnels at New York’s Penn Station, shown in July.

I am a loyal Amtrak rider. And I am proud of it. That’s why I am pleased to see that, in spite of great initial fears, the Infrastructure Renewal Program underway at New York City’s Penn Station has been going smoothly.

 The Renewal Program consists of Amtrak removing the equivalent of six football fields’ worth of track and installing new track and switches all before Labor Day. That’s no small feat. The mere thought of it — and the possible disruption that some thought would occur — caused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to dub it “the Summer of Hell.” I am pleased to see that several weeks into the program, the governor’s prediction has not come true, thanks in large part to the planning by Amtrak in conjunction with Long Island Railroad and New Jersey Transit.

As a former mayor of Philadelphia this comes as no surprise to me. I have watched Wick Moorman, who came on board less than a year ago as CEO, make real changes at Amtrak — streamlining operations, emphasizing a culture of safety and reliability, and working to enhance the customer experience. I have no doubt that further positive changes will occur with Richard Anderson joining Moorman in leading Amtrak. Yet, while Amtrak is making real change, the greatest threat it faces is a failure of our nation’s leaders to invest in its critical infrastructure and to help improve and maintain its assets.

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