A recent Brookings Institute report discusses the reinvention of the rail system and Amtrak.
Intermetropolitan passenger rail is a vital component of the country's national transportation network. Amtrak carried over 31.2 million passengers in 2012, making it the fastest-growing domestic transportation mode over the last fifteen years. It also outpaced the growth in population and economic output, further illustrating its role in the broader American economy.
But to continue rail's ridership gains into the future, will require more purposeful action. Amtrak relies on a complex web of formal relationships with its state partners and the freight rail firms that own most track mileage, each of which has somewhat different goals for the national rail system. At the same time, the financial challenges of maintaining a national network that spans the continent means Amtrak's supporters continuously negotiate with Capitol Hill legislators over annual funding infusions. Sustaining and building Amtrak will require a better understanding of how to satisfy each of these parties' interests alongside Amtrak's own, as well as the overall goals for an efficient, effective, integrated transportation network.
The upcoming reauthorization and finalization of a national rail plan on the federal level, coupled with increased attention on the role of passenger rail in states, make this the right time to focus on the future of Amtrak, despite the fiscally constrained times.
Read Full Report Here
The long range plan of high speed passenger rail requires persistance, courage and vision.
Let us hope that we develop this system for the future of our country and citizens.
Future of Hampton Roads