Fiscal year ridership is up 1.3% through March over FY18, and Amtrak is heading toward breakeven on an operating earnings basis by FY21. Amtrak has committed to investing billions in modernizing infrastructure, fleet, and facilities to meet the growing needs for passenger rail service across the nation.
Following the enactment of the Rail Passenger Service Act in 1970, Amtrak began serving customers on May 1, 1971, taking over the operation for most intercity passenger trains then operated by private railroads in exchange for access to their respective networks, thus preserving intercity passenger rail service across America. The rail service provider is now making plans to reassess Amtrak's network for the next 50 years.
“We are changing intercity passenger rail to meet the needs of America – modernizing our trains and stations, improving on-time performance, and adding contemporary amenities – making it the preferred mode of travel for customers,” said Amtrak President & CEO Richard Anderson, in a release. “We are experiencing record growth, and we look forward to working with Congress to further invest in our rail infrastructure to better serve the changing landscape of our nation.”
With much of Amtrak’s infrastructure dating to the early 1900s and most of Amtrak’s equipment nearing the end of its useful life, the rail companys says that considerable investments are needed to address increased highway congestion, rapid urbanization, and the threats posed by climate change.
Last month, Amtrak submitted its 5 Year Plans which provide a comprehensive strategic and financial view of the services that Amtrak provides its customers along with its General and Legislative Annual Report to Congress. Amtrak is preparing to transmit a comprehensive reauthorization proposal to Congress later this year.