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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Amtrak appoints VP of capital programs


National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak) April 11 announced the appointment of Richard Sarles as vice president, capital programs.

Sarles joined Amtrak in 1996, following 28 years with Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where he managed the capital program for tunnels, bridges, terminals and railroads. His most recent Amtrak post was vice president of high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor. In that position, Sarles managed completion of the Acela high-speed rail program.

Sarles will lead the newly created Capital Programs Department, and is responsible for directing the planning, design and implementation of the company’s major capital and construction programs.

Sarles also would be responsible for developing 11 federally designated high-speed rail corridors in areas with higher-than-usual population density and transportation congestion.

Earlier this year, Amtrak rolled out its 2001 Strategic Business Plan, a 20-year program calling for $1.5 billion in annual federal capital funds. The national passenger railroad proposed $1.56 billion annually for the first five years to eliminate a backlog of deferred maintenance — primarily in Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.