Center for American Progress Action

: Understanding Amtrak and the Importance of Passenger Rail in the United States

Passenger rail is an essential element of America’s surface transportation system, and the main provider of intercity passenger rail service is Amtrak. Passenger rail service supports economic development, connects rural communities to the nation, and helps reduce roadway congestion in major metropolitan regions. In addition, Amtrak facilities and services are vital to commuter rail agencies, allowing 840,000 commuters to reach their destinations every weekday.

The crash on Tuesday, May 12, of Amtrak train 188 north of Philadelphia caused the deaths of eight passengers and injured more than 200 other riders. This tragedy serves as a stark reminder that the policy decisions made in Washington have real consequences on the state of repair of our nation’s infrastructure assets, as well as on the safety of their day-to-day operations.

Please join the Center for American Progress Action Fund for a discussion of the issues facing America’s rail infrastructure. Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE) will address the importance of passenger rail to the economic vitality of the nation and the Northeast Corridor, and will be followed by an expert panel that will include former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D), who will highlight the greater attention, oversight, and investment that passenger rail deserves.