Amtrak Puts Forth a Vision of High Speed Rail

Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, featuring high-sp...
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Amtrak released a concept plan entitled A Vision for High Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor. The plan proposes that new dedicated tracks be built parallel to the existing ones for high speed rail between Boston, New York, and Washington. The existing tracks would be kept for slower trains and freight.

The new trains would average 137mph for a trip between Washington and New York taking 96 minutes, and at an average rate of 148mph, a trip between Boston and New York would take only 84 minutes. Today daily departures could increase from 42 today to as many as 148 in 2040.

That’s right, we said 2040. The construction period alone would be 25 years and would take 4.7 billion dollars annually. Perhaps $117 billion dollars over a few decades is an impossible dream, but as Amtrak’s CEO commented, “Nothing gets financed without a vision. If you don’t know what you want to do, you can’t go and ask for money publicly or privately.”

Amtrak itself asked for 2.5 billion for the 2011 Fiscal year, which begins October 1st to cover operations and buy new rolling stock.  The President awarded 8 billion dollars earlier this year to states to develop high speed rail.

So, we now have visions…can we get some rail please?