Of the infrastructure projects to go underway as part of the approved $1 trillion infrastructure bill, the Northeast Corridor (NEC) project is the most applauded. Regarded as a monumental infrastructure investment aimed at driving better train travel experiences for more than 820,000 daily commuters in more than 2,100 trains, Amtrak partnership with Penn Station is touted as the most transformative.

The Amtrak-Penn Station collaboration will expand the Baltimore Penn Station, being the busiest rail station in Amtrak’s rail transport system.

About the Amtrak-Penn Station Partnership to Expand Baltimore Penn Station

Amtrak-Penn Station’s expansion of Baltimore Penn Station is described as having multimodal focus. The planned improvements include providing shuttle services to nearby institutions like Johns Hopkins, connecting with CityLink buses, reorganizing pick up and drop off points for taxi and rideshare transport services, as well as putting in place docks for bicycle and scooter transports.

As one of the goals in expanding the Baltimore Penn Station is to heighten the daily commuter and intercity travel experience for those originating in Baltimore, the design includes revitalizing the headhouse of the busiest station in Amtrak’s rail system. Aside from the addition of passenger amenities and new retail outlets, the planned headhouse improvements include the construction of the first of-its-kind Metropolitan Lounge for premium Amtrak passengers.

To further encourage commuters in Baltimore and those in the surrounding neighborhood to use the station as thoroughfares, the building will have five, instead of just two entrances. Those passing through the Baltimore station building will not be required to present tickets just to gain entry.

Although New York City has traditionally been the focus of national infrastructure development plans, investing in the NEC is seen as a way to unlock the full potential of the other east coast states, namely Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland , Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and the Washington, D.C federal district.

Evaluations of Environmental Impact vs. Attaining Sustainability Goals

In the bid to improve existing infrastructures, planners and stakeholders have evaluated the environmental impact brought about by infrastructure construction projects. However, they have arrived at a conclusion that the benefits of improving the country’s transport systems will greatly outweigh the environmental impact. Statistically, global transport systems are the largest producers of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that continue to annually contribute about 0.8 percent increase in carbon dioxide in terms of metric tons.

Nevertheless, it’s critical for contractors to institute and observe mitigation measures instituted by planners and stakeholder, when breaking ground, paving new roads or when laying additional railway tracks. Soil degradation is often an overlooked environmental concern, which contractors must address by placing protective ground coverings like a crane matting.

As it is, intense construction activities, heavy construction materials and use of heavy equipment, all apply uneven pressure on the soil, which often leads to soil compaction. The condition is one in which ground soil binds together, becoming more dense, whilst losing its porosity and ability to absorb water.