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News Signal: CNEC Briefs Congressional Staff on the Complexities of Mega Project Infrastructure Development

March 28, 2024


Mike Friedberg  



(Washington, D.C.) - On February 20th, 2024, the Coalition for the Northeast Corridor (CNEC or the Coalition), the Northeast Corridor Commision and Amtrak hosted a briefing in the Capitol Visitors Center to highlight the challenges and intricacies involved in planning, developing, and implementing mega rail infrastructure. Led by CNEC Executive Director Michael Friedberg, CNEC members Carol Boehm, Vice President Client Account Manager at AECOM and Caroline Decker, Senior Vice President & National Rail Business Director at WSP, gave a in depth presentation on the planning and implementation of large-scale initiatives. CNEC was joined by Mitch Warren, Executive Director, Northeast Corridor Commission who briefed hill staffers on the importance of rail systems, especially in the Northeast Corridor, and discussed the recent publication of Connect NEC 2037 Program.  


Mega Rail projects, although likely to generate regional and national economic and mobility benefits, have a hefty price tag and take extensive planning and funding to implement. Friedberg, Boehm, and Decker emphasized this through a discussion surrounding the Moynihan Trail Hall $1.8 billion project, the $6 billion Frederick Douglass Tunnel, and the $2.9 billion Penn Station Access project. All these large-scale designs have taken seven years or more to plan, develop, construct, and implement. This reinforces importance of continuing to invest in and fund United States railways. “Railroads have a large impact on U.S. industries” said CNEC Executive Director Michael Friedberg, “It connects consumers and industries to opportunities and promotes economic mobility. So, it is important we continue to push for increased investment in rail infrastructure.”  


Following the CNEC presentation, a panel of Amtrak representatives discussed Amtrak’s role in mega rail project planning and implementation. Jeannie Kwon, Vice President of Mega Programs – Capital Delivery, Luigi Roda, AVP of Major Programs – Tunnels, and Dante DeAnnuntis, HR Integration and Operations, all discussed Amtrak’s part in the construction process, their success metrics, and the role of private sector relationships with huge projects. This dialogue made way for crucial insight into the stages of project planning, common issues during the process such as cost overruns and delays and reemphasized the need for regular and increased funding to invest in rail infrastructure.  


As we continue to move toward a more equitable, accessible, and sustainable future, CNEC applauds these leaders and their efforts to enhance railway mobility and promote regular investments in a variety of rail and transportation initiatives that will create a more robust system of transportation for the future.  


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