Northeast Corridor Commission releases 15-year rail development plan

The Northeast Corridor (NEC) Commission has announced a $117bn, 15-year plan, CONNECT NEC 2035 (C35), to remake the US train corridor as part of a reinvestment programme.

The entities involved in the plan’s development include the state governments of the Northeast, the federal government, eight commuter rail agencies and Amtrak.

Around 150 projects and capital renewal activities along the corridor have been covered in the plan.

The C35 aims to provide connections to new markets as well as minimise travel times between communities. Its implementation will also result in railroad safety and reliability, along with an increase in services.

The NEC Commission stated that the gap in the fund, which would be around $100bn, will be shared between the federal government and states.

In a statement, the NEC Commission said: “To maximise the detailed sequencing laid out in C35 and provide the certainty needed to make long-term investments in workforce development and equipment procurement, multi-year funding needs to be predictable and should fund the plan, rather than individual projects.”

C35 is the initial phase of the ‘long-term vision’ for the corridor, as underlined in the Federal Railroad Administration’s 2017 NEC FUTURE plan.

NJ TRANSIT president and CEO and NEC Commission co-chair Kevin Corbett said: “The corridor supports more than 800,000 daily passenger trips between the greater Washington DC and Boston regions.

“It is imperative that together we seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to replace ageing assets, add rail capacity, improve performance and enhance the customer experience along the entire corridor through the advancement of the vital and ambitious C35 plan.”

Once executed, the plan will result in enhanced mobility and rail connections in the Northeast region.

The regular Amtrak NEC service will witness an increase of 33% and the services for numerous commuter railroads will be doubled.

As part of the plan, new one-seat ride services from New Jersey, New York and Connecticut into Penn Station New York will also commence.

The commission also focuses on continuing the minimising of greenhouse gas emissions, which are currently equivalent to 2.9 million car trips between New York and Los Angeles annually.

Around 1.7 million new job opportunities are expected to be created during the execution of this plan.

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