NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Amtrak has big plans to improve service on the Northeast Corridor, but said Congress has to get on board first.
Amtrak is setting ridership records, thanks to passengers in the northeast.
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, Amtrak is carving a corridor through bedrock on Manhattan’s west side to expand service.
The tracks being built, Aiello reported, will one day be covered by a deck supporting the massive Hudson Yards project.
“It’s important because we need to expand capacity into New York and between New York and New Jersey,” Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz told Aiello.
Schulz explained the so-called tunnel box will also improve NJ TRANSIT service that use Amtrak rails.
Amtrak also has plans to replace the frequently bottlenecked portal bridge over the Hackensack River and upgrade switches and overhead power lines used by both railroads.
It’s all part of Amtrak’s budget for the Northeast Corridor.
The busy route from Boston, through New York and on to Washington, D.C. makes Amtrak $300 million in profit annually.
“We’re really looking to keep the Northeast Corridor revenue in the Northeast Corridor and use the operating profit that’s generated here in the Northeast Corridor to continue investing in the infrastructure,” said Schulz.
Amtrak is asking Congress to approve a budget that does just that: spends profit generated here to improve service here, rather than to subsidize money-losing service out west.
“Everyone’s frustrated with the airlines right now so it’s really a good moment to move on rail,” Amtrak rider Linda Miller told Aiello.
More money would also help Amtrak with plans it has on the long-range drawing board, like a high-speed train that would get from New York City to Philadelphia in 37 minutes.
Amtrak said improving its infrastructure also helps NJ TRANSIT and the Long Island Rail Road, which share Amtrak tunnels, tracks and facilities.
Amtrak submitted its budget to Congress on Tuesday, with a warning that the system is at risk unless serious investment is made.
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