Amtrak Announces $117 Billion Plan for High-Speed Rail

Amtrak has unveiled a 30-year plan for Next-Generation High-Speed Rail on the East Coast that would dramatically reduce travel times.

Trains would eventually be able to operate at speeds of up to 220 mph on a new two-track corridor, cutting the travel time between Washington and Boston to about three hours, or half of what it currently takes.

The plan comes with a $117 billion price tag, and there is no funding plan in place. But Amtrak Chairman Joseph Boardman says the aim is Next-Gen rail carrying about 18 million passengers by 2040.

Even at average speeds of 137 mph to 148 mph, Amtrak says the new line would reduce the travel time from Washington to New York from 162 minutes to 96 minutes. The ride from New York to Boston would take only 84 minutes, down from the current 215 minutes.

"Amtrak is putting forward a bold vision of a realistic and attainable future that can revolutionize transportation, travel patterns and economic development in the Northeast for generations," Boardman says in a press release.

The high-speed rail would be able to accommodate up to 80 million people annually as demand increases after 2040, Boardman says.

Currently Amtrak carries about 12 million riders a year on the northeast corridor.

Photo, Acela train, John H Gray, flickr
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