National Corridors Initiative

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The National Corridors Initiative, Inc.
35 Terminal Road Suite 210 Providence, RI 02905

MA Office: 59 Gates Street, Boston MA, 02128
CT Office: 8 Riverbend Drive, Mystic, CT, 06355

  Press Release - May 26, 2006

Voice: 617-269-5478

James P. RePass
President & CEO


Statement on Amtrak Power Outage
of May 25, 2006

Providence --- The power outrage that stranded thousands of rail travelers May 25 “can be expected again, and with more frequency,” according to a statement from the National Corridors Initiative issued Friday morning. “It is a symptom of the negligence shown the national rail system for the past 35 years.

“The proximate cause of the power failure has been attributed to equipment malfunction,” stated NCI President James RePass, “but that is only a partial truth. The underlying cause of the failure is more than three decades of underfunding of the Northeast Corridor’s rail infrastructure, which is now 80 years old in some places, and 100 years old in others.” The DOT Inspector General’s office identified the New York-DC capital shortfall as $6 billion, as of 2004.

“Statements by some that money has been 'lavished’ on Amtrak are due to either malice or ignorance,” stated RePass, “since Amtrak has received less total money since its founding in 1970 than the nation’s highways or airlines receive every year single year in direct or hidden Federal, state, and local subsidies.”

“The national rail passenger system was created by Congress to rescue the freight railroads from the requirement that they provide passenger service,” said RePass, “but the capital needed to replace the decrepit equipment given over from those railroads at the start of Amtrak’s operation, or to rebuild the infrastructure on which Northeast Corridor trains ride, has never been forthcoming, except for isolated projects.”

“Until the Congress or the Administration puts forth a comprehensive program to rebuild the nation’s transportation infrastructure, including desperately needed rail improvements, we are going to continue to lose ground to Europe and Asia, and our economy is going to continue to underperform the rest of the world.”

The National Corridors Initiative was founded in 1989 to advocate for infrastructure investment. It is the organization that obtained the release in 1991 of long-embargoed Federal funds to build the Boston-New Haven electrification project, which has cut New York-Boston travel times to three and one half hours, down from 5 and one half.

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