WASHINGTON – Amtrak plans to begin procurement in fiscal year 2012 of 40 additional Acela Express coach cars to increase seating capacity on all existing high-speed train sets to meet growing ridership demand.
The plan to purchase new high-speed equipment is part of the national passenger railroad’s $2.22 billion funding request submitted to Congress.
“Investing in Amtrak is investing in America’s transportation future and is an important component of any serious plan to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said President and CEO Joe Boardman. “It is necessary to balance the real concern over federal spending with the ongoing need to invest in the nation’s intercity passenger rail network to meet growing demand, support economic recovery and fuel the next generation of growth.”
The funding request for FY 2012 includes $1.285 billion for capital investments to maintain and improve tracks, equipment and other infrastructure particularly along the Amtrakowned portions of the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor; $616 million to support the operation of more than 300 daily trains; and $271 million for debt service.
This federal funding is vital to the continued operation of Amtrak, will support revenues received from ticket sales and other sources, and is consistent with funding levels authorized by Congress in the Passenger Railroad Investment and Improvement Act of 2008.
Amtrak is also seeking $50 million to start design and preliminary engineering work on the Gateway Project to build two new tunnels into Manhattan and expand capacity at New York Penn Station as the cornerstone of its vision for a 220 mph high-speed rail system capable of handling expected ridership growth for the next 100 years.