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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

More comments from Amtrak's Boardman regarding NEC privatization proposal


Yesterday, Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman held a press teleconference to address a proposal by Reps. John Mica (R-Fla.) and Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) to privatize the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and some of Amtrak’s long-distance routes. During the conference, Boardman said he needed more details about Mica’s and Shuster’s proposed legislation before making more specific comments. Shortly after, Boardman issued a statement saying that any plans to restructure the NEC “should make transportation the centerpiece.”

“The NEC is not just a piece of real estate; it is a major transportation artery and a vital component of the regional economy, carrying more than 250,000 intercity and commuter passengers every day,” he said in a statement.

Once the legislation is formally introduced — Mica and Shuster plan to do so next week — Amtrak officials plan to review it carefully, Boardman said.

“We don’t want to run the risk of adopting something that won’t work, that compromises safety or that simply costs more than we can afford,” he said.

However, Boardman reiterated his comment from the teleconference that he still believes Amtrak is the best company to manage and operate the NEC.

“We should have our eyes open to the possibility of innovations that can improve the NEC and Amtrak provides the region the best opportunity to achieve the needed improvements,” he said. “The NEC is a success under Amtrak stewardship and many components of our next-generation high-speed rail vision plan are already moving forward.”

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More News from 6/16/2011