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Stop taking Northeast Corridor for granted, Amtrak's Boardman says

The Northeast Corridor is a national transportation asset and Congress should stop taking it for granted, Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Boardman told a Senate committee yesterday.

The corridor is aging, failure prone and lacks redundant systems to keep it operating in the event of failure, Boardman told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which met in Bridgeport, Conn., yesterday to discuss the causes of a recent power failure on MTA Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Line.

"We must stop taking this vital infrastructure for granted and start investing in the future of the region and the nation," Boardman said in a prepared statement. "We have an infrastructure that, while safe, is vulnerable to service disruptions at virtually any time and place."

Aging and decaying infrastructure is gradually eroding the railroad's ability to provide service, as underfunding takes its toll, he said. Lost ridership and revenue are the clearest manifestation of the problem when a failure occurs, Boardman added.

Funding on the scale required will need to come from a coalition that involves the federal government, states, other Northeast Corridor rail users, local government and the private sector, he said.

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