A Billion Here and a Billion There . . .
There are plans underway for spending as much as $20 billion in New York and New Jersey on the Gateway Project, which includes two new railroad tunnels under the Hudson River.
The rail line from Springfield, Massachusetts, through Hartford to New Haven is going to be upgraded with the State of Connecticut picking up most of the cost. Many more millions.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced plans to renovate Penn Station in New York City and expand the capacity of the Long Island Railroad. No idea at all what the Penn Station project will cost, but the tab for the commuter railroad is estimated at a cool billion-with-a-B dollars.
A restoration plan for the railroad station in Syracuse, New York, has just been announced. That’s another million and a half tax dollars.
Work has been underway for more than a year to improve the track between Chicago and St. Louis to permit trains to increase top speed on that route from 79 to 110 miles-per-hour.
In Roanoke, Virginia, as well as other cities in that state, platforms are going to be added in the railway stations. Lots of concrete. Lots of bucks.
Track repairs and improvements are underway along the route of the Southwest Chief at a total estimated cost of something like $200 million over ten years.
Truthfully, I have no idea how many of these and similar projects there are, but literally dozens of railroad stations are being built or expanded or renovated all over the country.
I hope NARP will be able to compile an up-to-date list of all the capital projects around the country that are being undertaken to improve our passenger rail infrastructure. I can promise you that it will be a very long list and the bottom line will be many billions of dollars. And note, please, that these are real projects, not just pie-in-the-sky items on a lot of wish lists.
So here’s my point: If, collectively, we’re going to spend several hundred billion dollars on improving passenger rail’s infrastructure . . .
. . . it’s absolutely irresponsible not to find a few billion more for new rail cars and locomotives and other new equipment so we can get rid of the junk and increase frequencies!