Amtrak Calls for Expansion, Citing Close to 100 Requests for New Lines

The agency told a House committee it has received more than 90 applications for new intercity rail lines from cities around the country.

1 minute read

June 8, 2023, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

In an oversight hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner told committee members that his agency has received over 90 applications for new intercity passenger rail routes, signaling a strong demand for new regional rail service. 

Dan Zukowski describes the scene in Smart Cities Dive, writing that “While some House members used the hearing to advocate for new service in their communities, others grilled Gardner on the railroad’s finances, service, safety and security.” Amtrak received $66 billion in federal funding through the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law aimed at “new trains, tunnel and bridge improvements, repairs and maintenance and a program to add new routes and more service along existing intercity lines.” 

According to Gardner, Amtrak has seen service rebound to 89 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Representatives on the committee agreed that Americans by and large want more intercity train service. But some, like Rep. Troy Nehls, R—Texas, cautioned that “Amtrak must prioritize improving its current network, including important system maintenance and upgrades, and improving safety, security and customer satisfaction issues that have plagued Amtrak for years over expansion ambitions.”

Wednesday, June 7, 2023 in Smart Cities Dive

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