America should invest in rail infrastructure
Regarding Douglas Turner’s recent column about Amtrak, we apologize for the late train service he experienced. Poor on-time performance is unacceptable and is a complex issue we are working hard to remedy.
We strongly support the call for federal investment to fix our nation’s aging rail infrastructure. Amtrak ridership has increased year after year for more than a decade. In order to meet this growing demand, federal investment is needed to improve, expand and replace the century-old infrastructure upon which we rely. Dedicated funding to build new tracks, tunnels, bridges and stations, particularly on the Northeast Corridor and in Chicago, is required for the nation’s economic health. Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman continues to actively engage members of Congress and the administration on this important topic.
Under Boardman’s leadership, Amtrak’s ability to provide safe and efficient passenger rail transportation has actually strengthened. In our most recent fiscal year, Amtrak saw record revenue and a decrease in federal operating support to just 7 cents on every dollar – the lowest since the 1970s. We have expanded our network of state-supported services, introduced Wi-Fi and eTicketing technologies, procured new train equipment, instituted a major planning effort for the development of next-generation high-speed rail and are installing positive train control safety technology.
These actions form the foundation to support better, reliable service and meet the expectations of a growing number of customers choosing Amtrak for their travel needs.