It’s Time for a New Era of Investment in Amtrak
On Wednesday, I joined the Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to discuss the need for a new era of investment in Amtrak’s infrastructure, fleet, and stations—all of which are critical to the operations and future growth of passenger rail in America.
In fiscal year 2016 Amtrak had record ridership of more than 31 million passengers, and ticket revenues of $2.2 billion. We think this proves that more than ever members of the public rely on Amtrak for mobility. However, the future of Amtrak also depends on our renewal of the locomotives, bridges, tunnels, stations and other infrastructure that allows us to meet these growing demands.
At Amtrak, our job is to run the national network that Congress and the American people—our principal stakeholders—believe to be worth their investment. I believe we can be better than ever before by relentlessly improving our safety culture, modernizing and upgrading our products and strengthening our operational efficiency and project delivery.
Funding the Next Generation of Rail Travel
To do this, Amtrak will need additional support from Congress. After 45 years of service, much of our equipment and infrastructure are nearing the end of their useful life. For example, Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor is North America’s busiest railroad with 2,200 high-speed, intercity, commuter and freight trains daily—but much of the system was built over 100 years ago.
Despite a long list of infrastructure investments, we know that these improvements provide considerable benefits to the traveling public and the national economy. Making such investments in rail infrastructure not only help Amtrak better serve passengers, they also stimulate job growth in construction, manufacturing, and professional services, when labor and materials are sourced from communities across the nation.
Our mission hasn’t changed—Amtrak is here to help move people, the economy and the nation forward. With the right investments we can continue to deliver on that mission now and into the future.
Wick Moorman is Amtrak’s President and CEO. You can watch Mr. Moorman’s testimony in its entirety here.