BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore to D.C. in just 30 minutes could be a reality if a new proposal to upgrade rail service across the northeast takes shape.
A major overhaul is recommended for the busiest stretch of passenger rail. Federal officials have spent four years putting together a report and say it is vital to keep up with passenger demand.
“It’s good for us, good for the environment, more convenient,” said one traveler.
“I think that would make us go more. I think if there was a faster route, that was quicker for the kids, I think we would go more,” said traveler Dannie Frisone.
The preferred option includes major rerouting through Maryland to avoid choke points to allow trains to travel up to 220 miles per hour. The new recommendations include adding more tracks up and down the northeast corridors so that there would be four tracks in most locations.
That could increase the number of daily trains running between D.C. and New York from 38 to 136. The number of trains to BWI airport would go from 143 to 350. But the upgrades don’t come cheap. With an estimated price tag of about $128 billion. Shared between states and the federal government.
Incoming federal leaders have indicated they’re willing to spend big money on infrastructure upgrades.
“Well, it’s a big priority of this administration. We need to make sure that our infrastructure is built for the 21st century,” said Steven Mnuchin, treasury secretary nominee.
Passengers are excited about what that could mean.
“That’d be great. Thirty minutes less. I mean, that would be great,” said one traveler.
The plan projected to take 30 years. Amtrak officials say the new report is a crucial first step to speed up high speed rail in the northeast corridor.
The Federal Railway Administration is expected to release a full plan for implementing the upgrades next year.