Congressmen David Cicilline (D-RI) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) recently joined several other Members of Congress representing districts in the Northeast region in writing to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urging that he take immediate action to ensure disbursement of all funds currently committed to the Amtrak Northeast Corridor. Earlier this year, Secretary LaHood reprogrammed $472 million from other rail projects to badly-needed infrastructure improvement projects along the Northeast Corridor, which is the most heavily traveled rail line in the United States. Recent legislative efforts have sought to redirect the unobligated portion of these funds away from the critical improvements along this corridor to other projects.
"Infrastructure improvements to the Northeast Corridor take on new urgency as it is an investment in job and economic opportunities for our region that will help reduce energy consumption and generate sustained economic activity," said Cicilline. "Our transportation infrastructure has pressing needs. In particular, we need to improve the efficiency of our transportation network. As the nation's most densely populated transportation corridor, the Northeast Corridor has a well-established passenger rail infrastructure. However, the infrastructure to support that transportation is dated and overburdened. We can put people back to work right now making these repairs in jobs that cannot be outsourced. "
"The Northeast Corridor, which runs through Philadelphia and Bucks County, is a critical component of our region's infrastructure and economy," said Fitzpatrick. "A modern and efficient rail system will help our economy grow and residents prosper by closing the distance between some of America's most important commercial centers. What's more, the construction of the physical improvements to the corridor will help put many people back to work."
The Northeast corridor serves 13 million passengers annually, accounting for 52 percent of Amtrak passengers. Additionally, 19 of Amtrak's busiest stations are located along the Northeast Corridor.