Amtrak estimates rail to cost $118 billion

Posted 10/4/10

WASHINGTON – Amtrak, the U.S. long-distance passenger railroad, estimated that building a high-speed train link between Washington and Boston to cut the travel time in half will cost $118 billion over 25 years, Bloomberg News reported.

CEO Joseph Boardman released a report in Philadelphia last week on the proposed service, a three-hour trip from Boston to Washington. The Acela, Amtrak’s fastest train, travels between the cities in six hours.

“What we get for this investment is a system that can move 80 million people per year,” Al Engel, Amtrak’s first vice president for high-speed rail, said on a conference call with reporters. “We also free up some capacity on the existing corridor for growth in commuter rail.”

The trains, operating up to 220 miles per hour, would run on new, dedicated tracks, while Amtrak would keep its existing tracks for slower passenger trains and freight. Amtrak would build tracks parallel to the ones it has between Washington and New York, and would need to acquire right-of-way to reroute its corridor between New York and Boston, Boardman told reporters. •

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