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"We will keep paying the price for this underinvestment"


In Reckoning Looms at Penn Station, The Wall Street Journal's Paul Berger connects the disruption tormenting hundreds of thousands of commuters at New York Penn Station to chronic underfunding.

Highlights

  • But money alone can’t solve Penn Station’s maintenance problems, said Stephen Gardner, a senior Amtrak official. The disruption represents a reckoning after decades of running Penn Station at a pace it was never designed to handle, he said.

  • Mr. Gardner, Amtrak’s executive vice president for planning, technology and public affairs, said that although Amtrak is still calculating the cost of the forthcoming work, it wouldn’t be “an extraordinary amount of money.”

  • Train traffic at the station has doubled since 1976. Most of that growth has been in commuter trains, which make up 80% of traffic and have increased to more than 1,000 arrivals and departures a day.

  • John Porcari, a former U.S. deputy secretary of transportation, said the current disruption is a result of that underinvestment. “We will keep paying the price for this underinvestment until we have a comprehensive plan for revitalizing the entire Northeast Corridor,” Mr. Porcari said.

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