Amtrak Doesn’t Just Need Money


The evening commute home for NJ Transit Passengers has a crowd awaiting track assignments in the 7th … [+] Avenue boarding area of New York Penn Station. An upfront confession: I like trains. I lived car-free for a while in Boston, relying on the subway, and have always enjoyed high-speed trains when overseas.

Traveling to New York, I sometimes take Amtrak out of a distaste for driving in that area, given the poor infrastructure and worse drivers. So, President Biden’s proposal to spend billions on rail infrastructure is appealing. Which isn’t to say that money will solve Amtrak’s all of problems, which partly have to do with its nature as a semi-government entity that must bear the burden of Congressional oversight and mandates, many of which hinder its efficient functioning. (And no, I have minimal insight into the laws and regulations governing it.) But Amtrak always reminds me of the wisdom of my former boss, Mary Novak, who once more...