As Congress prepares to deliberate this year over the rewrite of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA), we have the opportunity to make things right and finally match our pursuit of a modern economy with a modern transportation system.
With 31 million riders and growing popularity, Amtrak had its best year ever in 2012. Not bad for a chronically underfunded railroad. But its physical infrastructure and rolling stock are badly aging due to long periods of underinvestment and neglect. Meanwhile, Congress no longer debates ways to deploy new federal investments in passenger rail and other transportation needs – Congress actually debates whether we should debate these issues at all. Something is seriously wrong.
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