LIRR Disruptions Expose Ills of Aging Metro-area Rail System

Richard Barone, vice president of transportation for the nonprofit Regional Planning Association, said at the root of the problem is generations of underinvestment that has not kept up with the rail system’s growth. According to Amtrak, daily ridership at Penn Station has tripled over the last half-century, from 200,000 in the 1960s to more than 600,000 now. Yet, rail infrastructure typically receives far less federal funding than any other transportation mode, including highways and airports. “It’s incredible that all of this traffic comes into these 100-year-old tunnels,” Barone said. “We operate so much at the edge. We don’t have that big buffer between something going wrong and the whole thing falling apart.”