As anyone who has read the 2020 book, RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity knows, reconnecting properties and places is one of the three key actions that’s essential to revitalization success. This applies at the regional and national level, as well.
Of course, healthy connections are crucial, and rail consistently ranks the highest in that category.
Now, on May 27, 2021, Amtrak initiated the work to deliver—by 2035—more frequent, reliable and sustainable intercity passenger rail service to over 160 more communities and 20 million more passengers annually, as outlined in the newly-released Amtrak Corridor Vision.
To be implemented in collaboration with states, local communities, the administration and many other stakeholders, the Corridor Vision builds upon Amtrak’s national network, integrating new and improved corridors to expand the existing system.
“Now is the time to invest in our country’s infrastructure and future,” said Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn. “New and improved rail service has the ability to change how our country moves and provides cleaner air, less traffic and a more connected country.”
Amtrak’s vision to grow rail service across America includes 39 potential new routes and more trips or other enhancements on 25 existing routes, creating the potential to expand or improve rail service for 20 million additional passengers each year.
The plan calls for improved service in major cities currently underserved by rail like Houston, Atlanta and Cincinnati and new intercity passenger rail service to cities such as Las Vegas, Nashville, Columbus, Phoenix, and Wichita, with increased access for many towns and cities in between.
The economic benefit of Amtrak’s Corridor Vision is expected to reach $8 billion annually by 2035, with an additional $195 billion in economic activity generated by additional capital investment during 2021 – 2035. More than 26,000 ongoing permanent jobs plus 616,000 person-years of employment supported by capital investments during 2021-2035 will be created or supported by this vision.
Additionally, this plan offers a significant opportunity to reduce emissions. Travel on Amtrak trains outside the Northeast Corridor (NEC) emits up to 55% fewer Greenhouse Gases than driving alone, and up to 30% fewer than flying.
Flynn concluded, “The American people have waited long enough for a sustainable, world-class intercity passenger rail network. Congress could pass legislation today to start making Amtrak’s vision a reality: create a Corridor Development Program, pass the Intercity Passenger Rail Trust Fund Act and Rail Passenger Fairness Act, and clarify the law to ensure fair access to host railroads for Amtrak growth.”
In a letter to Congress, Amtrak highlights what it will take to achieve this bold vision.
Image courtesy of Amtrak.