Even while dealing with the economic fallout of the pandemic, Amtrak is forging forward with plans to expand intercity rail passenger service around the country.
2021 is starting on an optimistic note for Amtrak. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee recently approved a measure to include $1.5 billion in funding for Amtrak as part of the larger, $1.9 trillion stimulus bill still making its way through Congress.
But Amtrak also has plans for a $25 billion expansion of service that is moving forward amidst the uncertainty and contractions of the pandemic. A recent article by Eric Anderson describes the scope of Amtrak's "corridor" plan that would add intercity passenger rail service all over the country—places like Tennessee, Texas, and Nevada. An article about the five corridors proposed for Ohio was the most-read news article of the first week of February on Planetizen.
"Amtrak is focusing on developing new 'corridors,' routes tying together population centers that are several hundred miles apart and offer frequent train service. Some of the changes would be extensions of existing routes," explains Andersen of the strategic thinking of the broader expansion plan before digging into the details of the proposed corridors in New York State (Andersen is writing for the Albany Times Union) and the Capital Region.
Amtrak could extend service between Albany and Buffalo beyond to Cleveland and potentially Toledo and Detroit, for example. Service between Detroit and New York City is under consideration as well, along with restoring the corridor from New York City to Scranton, Pa., and possibly north to Binghamton.
Andersen also provides a lot of information about proposed corridor service in other parts of the country, noting that much of the program would focus on the South and West. "Completely new corridors would connect Chattanooga and Nashville with Atlanta; Atlanta and Charlotte; Jacksonville with Orlando, Tampa and Miami; Los Angeles with Las Vegas; Los Angeles with Phoenix and Tucson; and Denver with communities along the front range of the Rocky Mountains."
As for how Amtrak would achieve such a lofty ambition for passenger rail in the United States, Andersen writes: "Amtrak is proposing a five-year, $25 billion spending plan that would pay for trains and other equipment, as well as covering startup and other operating costs, with the operating support gradually shifting over a period of years to the state in which the trains are operating."
Planetizen first reported on Amtrak's expansion plans in October 2020.
European Cities Act on Density
The sprawling mass of suburbia has been a disaster for the environment. But now smaller, denser cities herald a renaissance in city living.
Nashville Sets Downtown Parking Maximums
Nashville is the latest city to enact a substantive change to the parking requirements set by the city’s zoning code—doing away with parking minimums and setting parking maximums in the city’s Urban Zoning Overlay.
Houston Development Aims to Create Hyper-Walkable, Micro-Living Neighborhood
The 17-acre Second Ward project has spurred both optimism for a more walkable city and concerns about displacement and gentrification.
Mapping Environmental Justice to Census Tracts
The Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool, version 1.0, is now available on the internet.
Wall Street Suddenly Buying Fewer Single-Family Homes
Rising interest rates are having a major effect in the housing market—including on the large institutional investors who spent much of the past couple of years buying up single-family homes.
Constitutional Protections for Environmental Rights Latest Roadblock for NYC Megaproject
The latest in a series of lawsuits against a megaproject proposed for Manhattan is the first to sue on the grounds provided by a constitutional amendment approved by the state of New York a year ago.
Chaddick Institute at DePaul University
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Missoula Redevelopment Agency
City of Joliet
City of Crystal River
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.