A New Alignment: Strengthening America’s Commitment to Passenger Rail

Source: Robert Puentes, Adie Tomer and Joseph Kane, Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program, Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation, March 2013

From the summary:
American passenger rail is in the midst of a renaissance. Ridership on Amtrak—the primary U.S. carrier—is now at record levels and growing fast. This research shows that the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas are primarily behind this trend, especially ten major metros responsible for nearly two-thirds of total ridership.

Driving the connection between these metropolitan areas are short-distance corridors, or routes traveling less than 400 miles, that carry 83 percent of all Amtrak passengers. States now have formalized relationships with Amtrak to upgrade tracks, operate routes, and redevelop stations. The result is a new federalist partnership where Amtrak, the federal government, and states share responsibility for the network’s successes and failures.

This report is the first analysis to focus on metropolitan area statistics for passenger rail rather than individual stations or cities. Its findings will help policymakers and state leaders better understand the location dynamics of Amtrak: where it works well, and the areas poised to benefit from new and expanded services.
Report Calls for Bigger State Role in Rail
Source: Ryan Holeywell, Governing, March 1, 2013