| NEW YORK, April 27
NEW YORK, April 27 Traveling through the
nation's busiest transit hub, New York's Pennsylvania Station,
will become even more cumbersome as Amtrak takes some tracks out
of service for repairs after recent derailments disrupted travel
for hundreds of thousands of commuters in recent weeks.
The construction will create further headaches for
passengers, but Wick Moorman, Chief Executive Officer of the
national passenger rail company, said in a call with reporters
on Thursday that replacing some of the infrastructure is
"We all clearly understand there has been a sense of
frustration," Moorman said. "It is our goal to cause the least
amount of disruption."
The bulk of work should be finished by the end of summer
2017, but some weekend work is likely to stretch as late as June
New York, with its crowded station and decaying, century-old
rail tunnels underneath the Hudson River, is a chokepoint on
Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, which runs from Washington to
Boston and is the operator's only profitable section.
Congressional delegations from New York and New Jersey,
along with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey
Governor Chris Christie, have called for more and faster federal
funding for the region's rail infrastructure.
U.S. Senator Corey Booker, a Democrat representing New
Jersey, last week said the area is "teetering every single day
on the brink of truly a traffic Armageddon."
In his March budget proposal, U.S. President Donald Trump
called for terminating federal support for Amtrak's long
distance train services to focus on "better managing its
State-supported and Northeast Corridor train services."
Moorman said on Thursday that he does not anticipate any
"substantial reduction in funding" at the end of the federal
budgeting process for next year. Amtrak has not been "adequately
funded" for a "fairly long period of time," he said.
He said officials are still determining how much the
expedited repair program will cost, but the number will be in
the "tens of millions of dollars" and should become clear
"within the next few days" after meetings with NJ Transit and
the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) officials.
Whatever the final price tag, Amtrak will pay for it by
reallocating other funding in this year's budget that was
supposed to pay for technology upgrades, Moorman said.
Amtrak owns and operates the station and leases tracks and
space to NJ Transit and LIRR.
Work will begin in the most complex part of the station on
its western side. In that area, routes are sorted for trains
entering from the Hudson River tunnels and LIRR's West Side
Amtrak is also asking Thomas Prendergast, the former CEO of
New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority who retired
this year, to review passenger concourse level problems,
crowding, and to make recommendations.
The railroad will also create a new task force to review
safety and security processes and a mobile response team for
overcrowding situations, Moorman said.
(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Additional reporting by David
Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Daniel Bases and Diane