$50bn needed to keep train system from going off the rails

The Federal Transportation Administration believes that $50 billion is needed to repair major metropolitan train systems … and another $5.9 billion a year to maintain them. Railways that need the money, it continues, are in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. Together, they carry more than 80 percent of the train passengers in the country – amounting to more than 3 billion passenger trips every year.

We rely on these trains every day, but we aren’t keeping them in top shape. More than a third of the trains in these seven locations have equipment near or past their useful lives. The money needed to remedy problems, however, isn’t coming in. Eight percent of the equipment on these lines is in “poor” condition, with another 27 percent “marginal.”

William Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association, makes the astute observation: “We don’t need another report – we need greater funding.”