July 9, 2012 / 10:08 PM / 8 years ago

Amtrak plans 37-minute train from New York to Philadelphia by 2040

Amtrak's high speed Acela at Washington's Union Station seen after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden announced in Philadelphia that the U.S. government will dedicate $53 billion over six years to build new high-speed rail networks and make existing ones faster, February 8, 2011. REUTERS/Larry Downing

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Amtrak announced a $151 billion improvement plan on Monday that includes 37-minute trips from New York to Philadelphia at speeds approaching 220 miles per hour.

Major improvements proposed by the U.S. passenger railroad will “transform the travel landscape in the Northeast,” Amtrak said in a report.

The railroad predicted that super-fast train trips along the East Coast could be a reality by 2040. Travel times from New York to either Washington or Boston - both about 200 miles in distance - would also be slashed, to 94 minutes, the report said.

“The NEC (Northeast Corridor) region is America’s economic powerhouse and is facing a severe crisis with an aging and congested multi-model transportation network that routinely operates at or near capacity in key segments,” Amtrak’s president Joe Boardman said in a statement.

Amtrak said the next stage of improvement is financially feasible using an integrated capital investment strategy.

The traditionally cash-starved railroad is funded by Congress, where Republicans have been reluctant to finance prior plans to develop high-speed rail in the United States.

“For America to be globally competitive in the coming years, we must be equal to the challenge before us and make the necessary investments to design and implement the NEC improvements that will service the region and the nation for the century ahead,” Boardman said.

Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Philip Barbara

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