The following is a statement from Michael Friedberg, executive director, Coalition for the Northeast Corridor on the needed investment in rail infrastructure;
Dear Mr. President,
On behalf of business stakeholders and commuters representing the Northeast Corridor (NEC), we urge you to ensure that investments in the Corridor’s rail infrastructure are prioritized in your forthcoming infrastructure proposal.
The importance of the NEC to the nation’s economy cannot be overstated. Every day, more than 820,000 riders travel on its nearly 500-mile stretch, which links some of the country’s most economically vital cities. The NEC’s workforce alone contributes nearly $50 billion to the American economy annually, and studies have shown that the economy would lose $100 million should the system be shut down for just a single day. Packaged together, this would serve as the fifth-largest economy in the world, according to a federal study.
However, the deteriorating conditions along the NEC’s rail infrastructure are a threat to the long-term health of the economy. The U.S. lost more than $500 million in productivity last year alone as a result of service disruptions and other delays along the rail line. These figures will only worsen each year as increased demands are placed on the system and the costs to bring the network into a “state of good repair” will continue to balloon beyond the currently projected $52 billion over the next 20 years.
These economic realities underscore why our coalition comprises stakeholders that are not typically engaged in transportation and infrastructure issues. Our members include financial institutions, universities, and a wide-assortment of businesses — all of whom have a critical stake in ensuring a strong regional infrastructure that can support the demands of a vibrant and growing 21st century economy.
You have already demonstrated a commitment to the American business community by championing policies designed to stimulate growth and economic prosperity. As you consider opportunities to further strengthen the economy, there is no better place to start than by committing federal funds, support and resources to the NEC’s infrastructure.
We recommend that your forthcoming infrastructure plan prioritize NEC projects that have bipartisan support and are both technically and economically sound but either lack funds or need final agreement.
Your infrastructure plan represents an important step toward solving one of our nation’s most critical challenges. The Coalition for the Northeast Corridor thanks you for your continued economic leadership and commitment to the future of America’s infrastructure.
Executive Director, Coalition for the Northeast Corridor