U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today applauded Amtrak for reaching a new all-time record in ridership, with more than 31.2 million passengers traveling on Amtrak during Fiscal Year 2012. The Northeast Corridor alone carried more than 11.4 million passengers, also setting a new record of riders in one year. The annual ridership numbers released today showed that Amtrak ridership is up 49 percent since FY 2000.
"The record number of travelers choosing Amtrak is a testament to the reliability and convenience of our national rail system," said Lautenberg, who is Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation. "With more than a third of all Amtrak passengers riding the Northeast Corridor, it is clear that investing in this line will benefit the region's residents and economy. The continued rise in ridership underscores the urgency of getting the Gateway Tunnel built and increasing capacity for rail passengers. Amtrak continues to prove its value, and we will continue fighting to strengthen Amtrak so that it has the resources to serve even more Americans."
"Today's news that Amtrak ridership has hit an all-time high underscores not only that millions of American travelers have come to rely on rail service to live, work and play, but that a strong, well-funded Amtrak is essential to our economic future. We will continue to fight to improve our national rail system -- because it's working," said Menendez.
Senator Lautenberg is the author of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, which was signed into law with bipartisan support in 2008 to reauthorize and strengthen Amtrak. The law created a high-speed rail grant program, made critical investments in the Northeast Corridor, and required Amtrak to work with the states and the federal government to bring the Corridor into a state of good repair.
Senators Lautenberg and Menendez have secured an initial $15 million for Amtrak to begin design and engineering work on the Gateway Tunnel project and are working to secure another $20 million this year. The project will build a new trans-Hudson rail tunnel to increase the number of NJ Transit and Amtrak trains into and out of New York. The Gateway project will also expand intercity and high-speed rail access, providing world-class, high-speed rail service on the Northeast Corridor.