On Monday, Amtrak released an updated report on improving the Northeast Corridor that builds on several years of planning work. The report, The Amtrak Vision for the Northeast Corridor (PDF), summarizes Amtrak's plans to upgrade the existing corridor and build a new high-speed rail alignment - concepts that were outlined in two previous reports published by Amtrak in 2010, The Northeast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan and A Vision for High-Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor. This new, updated report revises and integrates these two plans into a single, comprehensive investment program.
The updated plan includes:
- Revisions to Amtrak's conceptual high-speed rail alignment based on feedback from stakeholders along the corridor that improved ridership and revenue projections, as well as revisions to their capital cost estimates and plans for service and rolling stock,
- A phased implementation strategy that achieves critical near-term improvements to existing infrastructure that expand capacity, increase reliability, and reduce trip times, and advances the long-term vision for a true high-speed rail system in the corridor,
- A series of "stair-step" milestones that measure the improvement of service conditions over the next 30 years due to the completion of the various infrastructure projects,
- A detailed look at the components and cost of the Gateway Program, a series of projects that will relieve congestion into New York from New Jersey - the biggest bottleneck on the corridor, and
- Highlights from the recently completed Northeast Corridor Business and Financial Plan, which looked at how to fund and deliver this vision, finding potential for significant financial return and revising ridership and revenue forecasts upwards.