Amtrak: National Rail Plan Needs to Recognize the Value of Amtrak’s Intercity Passenger Rail Network

WASHINGTON – Amtrak is urging the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to be bold and unambiguous in its vision for the future of the national rail system, including the Amtrak network, as it develops a long-range National Rail Plan (NRP).

“Amtrak’s existing national intercity passenger rail system should be recognized in the NRP as the foundation for the development of an expanded network of high-speed and conventional rail services spanning key corridors across the United States,” said Amtrak Vice President, Policy and Development Stephen Gardner.

Gardner explained that Amtrak is America’s intercity passenger railroad and the only high-speed rail service provider in North America. In addition, Amtrak’s current network of high-speed services in the Northeast Corridor, short-distance corridor services run in partnership with the states, and overnight long-distance services spanning the nation, is a solid base on which to build a truly 21st Century national intercity passenger rail system.

“The NRP should lay out a clear national vision for this network and contain strategies for improving and expanding intercity passenger rail services where such service can advance key national priorities like congestion relief, transportation safety, energy-efficiency, environmental protection, and sustainable development,” he stated.

In written comments submitted to the FRA, Amtrak said that as a company chartered by the federal government, and overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the final NRP should address the Department’s views on Amtrak, its future and its role in delivering the type of modern and efficient intercity passenger rail service envisioned in the preliminary NRP.