The states of the Northeast rail corridor are a diverse group. They have different economic strengths and different populations. But their representatives in the newly formed Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission are working together for one simple reason: they want high-speed intercity passenger rail service.
Earlier this week, the unprecedented regional partnership met for the first time, and I know the commission will help us write the next chapter in the emerging story of American high-speed rail.
Everyone familiar with the Northeast rail corridor knows the rail line is already woven into the social and economic fabric of the region. Commission members also recognize the crucial need for expansion and improvement to accommodate their growing populations, the region's congested roadways, and the demand for sustainable transportation options. And they understand the value high-speed rail promises.
On Tuesday, Amtrak unveiled its new vision for the Northeast Corridor: Washington to Boston in 3 hours.
It's a bold goal, and we have some work to do before we achieve it. But, it was a similar resolve that led to the creation of the interstate highway system--a system that forever changed the way America travels.
President Obama and I welcome the ambition of Amtrak's thinking, and we hope to see it spread across the nation as Americans recognize and demand the benefits of high-speed rail.
Because this train will not be stopped. And I promise you: In less time than it took to plan and pave our vast system of inter-connected highways, you will see high-speed trains carry significant numbers of Americans within and between regions.
And if you weren't sure how strongly this administration supports rail transportation, look no further than the vision President Obama laid out in September when he committed the US to laying and maintaining 4,000 miles of track for freight, commuter, and passenger rail. That’s enough track to stretch from coast to coast.
This investment will set the stage for job creation, regional growth, and sustainable economic competitiveness.
This is truly an exciting time--for the Northeast corridor, for us at DOT, and for the American people. And, as we embark upon this historic game-changing passenger rail network, I know the members of the Northeast Corridor Commission will be terrific partners.