Monday, April 07, 2014

Northeast Corridor is an economic engine: Report

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
Amtrak ACS-64 Amtrak ACS-64 Joseph M. Calisi
A new report, “The Northeast Corridor and the American Economy,” produced by the Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission (NEC Commission) details how the Northeast Corridor (NEC), carrying 750,000 daily Amtrak and commuter/regional rail passengers, “is a critical national asset, an economic engine for the U.S., and contributes about $50 billion a year to the national economy.”

The report, accessible by clicking here, also calculates that a loss of the NEC for a single day would cost nearly $100 million in transportation-related impacts and productivity losses.

“The NEC main line from Washington, D.C., to New York to Boston is a shared asset, used and supported by Amtrak, eight commuter rail operators, and four freight railroads, and connects eight states and the District of Columbia,” the report notes. “In addition, it connects people and businesses to world-class centers of employment, finance, education, healthcare, government, tourism and entertainment, and a variety of other economic and cultural destinations. The NEC carries more passengers within the NEC region than all the airlines combined and connects to the national freight rail network, allowing Midwestern businesses and manufacturers to connect to east coast ports and the global economy.”

“The Northeast Corridor and the American Economy” responds to a Congressional mandate established in the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, commonly referred to as PRIIA, which calls upon the NEC Commission to submit a report to Congress on the role of the NEC in supporting economic activity and opportunities for the NEC to enhance economic development.

“Our leaders in Washington need to read this report to understand the economic risk they are taking if they don’t act now to reverse decades of underinvestment in the aging and deteriorating infrastructure of the NEC,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. “As a member of the NEC Commission, Amtrak has worked closely with, and appreciates the efforts of, the NEC Commission and other participating agencies, including Northeast states, and commuter and freight railroads in the creation of the report.”

“Critical Infrastructure Needs on the Northeast Corridor,” a previous report produced by the NEC Commission, “recognizes that additional investment is necessary to renew and enhance the NEC as a world-class, high-performance rail corridor supporting the economic development and international competitiveness of the region and the nation.”