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Amtrak pledges to double riders by 2040 with expansion plans


Amtrak will aim to double its ridership by 2040 through extensive investments in expanded service, the railroad company announced Wednesday.

The “ambitious” goal would see the company work toward serving 66 million riders per year, as the Biden administration makes massive investments into rail infrastructure.

“Amtrak has rebounded from the pandemic and is growing again as part of our plan to double ridership by 2040,” Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner said in a statement. “With funding from the infrastructure bill in hand, we and our partners are transforming intercity passenger rail across the country in a big way.”

The company plans to make about $5.5 billion in capital investments in 2024, including in a new tunnel underneath downtown Baltimore on the Northeast Corridor, a rehabilitation of the East River Tunnel in New York City and other new projects across the country.

Amtrak also plans to add about 3,500 jobs in the coming year between construction and rail services.

“Amtrak is working on two overarching objectives in 2024 – improving passenger train service for our customers and efficiently and effectively carrying out a massive major infrastructure capital program aimed to modernize and upgrade our infrastructure, stations, fleet and technology,” Amtrak President Roger Harris said in a statement. “As both a passenger rail service provider and a major construction company, we are quickly growing and evolving to deliver on both.”

The expansion plans come as the federal government emphasizes the importance of passenger rail. The Federal Railroad Administration in December announced more than 50 new or expanded rail services as part of the Corridor ID program, which identifies and funds preliminary future rail projects nationwide.

The new lines include expansion to most of Amtrak’s long-distance services, as well as substantial new service in the Midwest and South. The Corridor ID program projects would add multiple new cities to the Amtrak network, including Phoenix; Columbus, Ohio; Nashville, Tenn.; and Mobile, Ala.

The Biden administration also provided about $8 billion in funding for high-speed rail services in California and Nevada not operated by Amtrak, with plans for new high-speed services in Texas, the Pacific Northwest and the South.

President Biden announced $16.4 billion in federal funds for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor projects in November. The funding is part of the $66 billion set aside for passenger rail in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.