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Amtrak and Northeast Corridor Overview. Joe McHugh Government Affairs and Corporate Communications. The political context. The big challenge for all of us is still capital adequacy Stimulus helped, but… “One and done” Became to some extent politicized

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Amtrak and northeast corridor overview

Amtrak and Northeast CorridorOverview

Joe McHugh

Government Affairs and Corporate Communications

The political context
The political context

  • The big challenge for all of us is still capital adequacy

  • Stimulus helped, but…

    • “One and done”

    • Became to some extent politicized

  • Congress has not been able to deal with the two big issues that affect all transportation modes:

    • Funding levels

    • Allocation questions

  • In the current environment, it’s hard to have a meaningful discussion

  • We expect the political environment to be tougher next year – not easier

We need to make infrastructure issues a political imperative – without making

them political

Potential committee changes
Potential Committee Changes


Full Committee:

  • Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-WV) is in a tough race

  • Rep. Petri (R-WV) is retiring

  • Rep. Daines (R-MT) is running for Senate

    Railroad Subcommittee:

  • Rep. Capito (R-WV) is running for Senate

  • Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA) is retiring

  • Rep. Coble (R-NC) is retiring

T-HUD Appropriations

  • Chairman Latham (R-IA) is retiring

  • Ranking Member Pastor (D-AZ) is retiring

  • Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) is retiring

  • We will be getting a new T-HUD Chairman and Ranking Member and losing an Amtrak-friendly Republican

The northeast corridor
The Northeast Corridor

  • 1 of out every 6 Americans

  • 4 of the of the nation’s 10 largest metro areas

  • $1 of every $5 in GDP

  • 2% of land area


New York



80% of the region’s population lives within 25 miles of the NEC

Update on the nec
Update on the NEC

  • Where we’re at today:

    • NEC OTP about 77.2%

    • Ridership and revenues up over FY 13 levels

    • Work in progress on earliest stage of Gateway Project

  • NEC Commission

    • Ongoing 212 process

    • NEC Future project (EIS)

    • Cataloguing of NEC investment needs

Annualized need of $2.6B/ year greatly exceeds available funding levels

Weekday train density in new york and new jersey
Weekday train density in New York and New Jersey

Hudson River Tunnels

Portal Bridge

Average of 450 trains

per day on 2 tracks

Greatest train densities

(train mile / track mile)

in entire Amtrak system

New york during the morning rush hour
New York during the morning rush hour

George Washington


7 lanes




6 lanes




2 tracks



4 tracks




4 lanes,


More than a quarter of a million people enter

New York City from New Jersey during this period

The big issue
The Big Issue

  • Two dominant issues:

    • OTP and capacity

    • Reliable funding

  • Available funding alternatives help, but still fall short:

    • States

    • Private sector

The NEC is a classic Federal responsibility

Amtrak continuing resolution history 1988 present
Amtrak Continuing Resolution History: 1988-present

Amtrak has operated on a CR in 23 of the last 26 years,

and was formally authorized in only 11 of the last 20 years

The way ahead
The way ahead

  • We need to look ahead about 2-3 year

  • The necessary changes and investments will only happen if infrastructure is prioritized

  • There’s a bigger constituency for this than just us:

    • “Patching” the trust fund has given other modes a taste of the uncertainty Amtrak enjoys

    • We’ve earned a place at the table – and the concerns we’ve always voiced are now general

  • We need integration of effort – a “commonwealth of purpose” to make these changes

Gridlock at a glance
Gridlock at a glance

Source: Transportation