FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2021
(Washington, D.C.) – On January 4, Coalition of the Northeast Corridor (CNEC) Chairman of the Board Amit Bose released the following statement:
None of us predicted 2020 would be what it became. As we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the CNEC effectively adjusted to the new world. Thank you for continuing the CNEC’s success during these unprecedented times.
Despite the times, the Northeast Corridor (NEC) is on the cusp of a new era thanks to our efforts over the past several years. We will have a new President who is an avid NEC passenger leading a committed new Administration. The CNEC is well-positioned to be a key stakeholder in the new Administration’s efforts to remove obstacles, and advance stalled and sputtering initiatives throughout the Corridor. One indicator of this was the invitation from the Biden-Harris Transportation Agency Review Team to share CNEC’s ideas.
Of our four 2020 goals, we were able to advance our federal agenda, bolster our national and regional footprint, and increase and engage members. The other area is where we know we have to do more - engaging with the media through a communications strategy. In 2021, our goals will be: advance our federal agenda, enhance our media presence, and increase member engagement.
Some of 2020’s notable highlights for member engagement were the Amtrak CEO William Flynn’s August presentation and the Northeast Corridor Commission’s June overview of its Strategic Development Plan effort. Both of these events were excellent ways to learn more about the Corridor’s future and current situation.
In addition to those events with key players on the Corridor, we continued to advance our federal agenda. We were part of the effort that made it possible for the Portal North Bridge to get a Full Funding Grant Agreement and secure the environmental approval of the Sawtooth Bridge. In addition, this year many NEC projects won the State of Good Repair (SOGR) grants.
Our efforts with Congress yielded funding for the key rail programs, Amtrak, and commuter rail as well as an expansion of the types of projects eligible for SOGR funding. We successfully advocated for critical and timely rail funding through the CARES Act, a second COVID relief package, and an appropriations bill.
In addition, Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) proposed historic legislation for the NEC that the House passed in June. By including a new NEC program in this year’s legislation, the NEC is well positioned for any future transportation reauthorization legislation in the 117th Congress.
CNEC is the business community’s voice for strengthening rail infrastructure in order to reduce congestion, create jobs and grow the economy. We represent diverse stakeholders who rely on the Corridor to conduct commerce, access customers, and transport employees.