Nothing until 2023? Amtrak says new construction efforts will take some time

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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Amtrak rail infrastructure projects will take a while to take shape.

Those hoping to see rail projects bustling in 2022 as a result from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill need to set their sights on 2023.

It will be the case for Amtrak. The passenger rail carrier is expected to expand its service and make long overdue infrastructure repairs with its $22 billion in new federal money. However, Amtrak President Stephen Gardner recently told the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee it might be 18 months before any significant work begins. This includes upgrades to the Northeast Corridor and the East River Tunnels and the construction of new corridors across the country.

Right now, Amtrak is more focused on increasing ridership. Ridership and revenues are expected to recover to about 80% of 2019 levels in the next year. In 2021, Amtrak recorded just a 37% ridership recovery.

There are $117 billion in proposed infrastructure improvements to the Northeast Corridor. On top of the East River Tunnels work, there is a proposed new Frederick Douglass Tunnel in Baltimore and bridge replacements in Connecticut and Maryland.

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