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.
However, the U.S. passenger railroad will need substantial financial support from both state and federal governments to make its ambitious plan to transform rail travel in the Northeast a reality.
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.
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Current travel times from New York to Philadelphia on Amtrak's sleek Acela trains are 1 hour, 15 minutes. Travel between New York and Washington currently takes 2 hours, 45 minutes and New York to Boston takes 3 hours, 41 minutes, according to Amtrak's website.
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.
Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm acknowledged a lack of federal support but said there were other funding options.
"You have to have a plan and if you have a plan, the money will follow," Kulm said.
Starting sometime in the 2020s, the hyper speedy "NextGen" trains will replace Acela trains, which were first introduced in 2000, Kulm said.
The newest Amtrak improvement plan also calls for direct links to airports and listed Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore and White Plains, New York, as possible candidates for Amtrak service.
Amtrak also said it is essential to the entire Northeast Corridor to build new tunnels connecting New York to New Jersey under the Hudson River.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie scuttled a similar plan in 2010 that would have primarily benefited New Jersey Transit. The newer plan would benefit both New Jersey Transit and Amtrak and would use a remodeled Penn Station, said Kulm.