When federal rail investments create 12,000 new jobs and improve the infrastructure that keeps our economy moving, that's a win for America.
That's exactly what's happening right now along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor as DOT continues its unprecedented investment in this valuable rail line. The nearly $745 million we committed yesterday will increase reliability and allow for the fastest passenger train speeds ever achieved in North America.
The Northeast Corridor will use nearly $450 million to improve electrical systems and tracks between Trenton, NJ, and New York City. This is the corridor's most heavily used section, but some of the catenary wiring--the electrical lines above the trains--dates back to the 1930s. Boosting and stabilizing the power supply, modernizing signals, and upgrading track will soon have Acela Express trains reaching top speeds of 160 mph. That's a considerable increase over today's 135 mph top speed.
Even better? When Amtrak purchases next generation trains, passengers will travel at world-class speeds of 186 mph along the improved track. That puts America well on its way to a high-speed, intercity passenger rail network even as it puts workers back on the job.
Together, these two projects are expected to generate 12,000 direct and indirect jobs. Through the Obama Administration’s strict implementation of the “Buy America” requirement, the opportunity for U.S. suppliers is tremendous as miles of wire and track, hundreds of catenary poles, new switches, concrete ties, bridges, signal towers, retaining walls, and a large volume of electrical equipment will be purchased for these important upgrades.
Creating thousands of jobs now is a terrific benefit, and I know those workers will be happy to get to their jobsites, do what they do best, and bring home a paycheck for their families. But, the results these workers deliver will also boost our economy by improving mobility up and down the Northeast Corridor's rails and roads.
Every passenger working on a laptop or tablet while enjoying one of Amtrak's smooth-riding trains means one less car on a congested highway. And, for truck drivers trying to deliver the goods in the nation's most densely populated region--where adding highway capacity is prohibitively expensive--that is a huge bonus.
As Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo said, “With our population expected to grow by 100 million more people between now and 2050, we are investing in a rail system that reduces congestion and improves the efficiency and reliability of travel in America."
Creating new construction jobs, ordering US-made supplies, and improving transportation opportunities across a region where 50 million Americans live and work--this is the kind of investment we owe today's workers. This is the kind of investment we owe the next generation of Americans.