Press Release

Conference President to Lead Delegation of Mayors on Amtrak's Inaugural Run of Acela

Events Commemorate First High-Speed Rail Service in America

November 15, 2000
Kevin McCarty or Jubi Headley
(202) 293-7330

Washington, DC -- On November 16 Conference of Mayors President and Boise Mayor H. Brent Coles will lead a delegation of Mayors on the inaugural run of Amtrak's new 150 mph Acela Express service on its Northeast Corridor, between Washington, DC and Boston. In addition to Mayor Coles, Mayors participating in the event will include:

  • Marc H. Morial, Mayor of New Orleans and Conference of Mayors Vice President;
  • John Robert Smith, Mayor of Meridian (MS), Amtrak Board member and Co-Chair of the Conference of Mayors Rail Restoration Transition Team;
  • Patrick Henry Hays, Mayor of North Little Rock (AK) and Co-Chair of the Conference of Mayors Rail Restoration Transition Team; and
  • Thomas Carper, Mayor of Macomb (IL) and Chair of the Amtrak Mayors Advisory Council.

In a statement Mayor Coles affirmed the will of the Mayors to expand the nation's commitment to rail investment. "We need a strong national passenger rail network to link with light rail and commuter rail projects that are now in varying stages of development in more than 200 communities all across this nation," Coles said. "The launch of the Acela Express service is an important first step in helping Amtrak to reach its congressional mandate of operational self-sufficiency by 2003. But just as importantly, the Acela service will inaugurate an era of new and improved high speed rail service in America, putting us on par with systems in Europe and Asia. I commend Amtrak CEO George Warrington for his leadership and vision."

The launch will consist of daylong ceremonial activities running from Washington north to New York and Boston to mark the history-making event. Events are scheduled as follows:

    Washington, DC Program
    Platform 10, Union Station

    New York City Program
    Rotunda, Penn Station

    Boston Program
    Track 10, South Station

This is a great day for America," said Conference Vice President and New Orleans Mayor Marc H. Morial. "Those of us outside the Northeast Corridor are looking forwarding to the day when we have similar service linking us to other metropolitan hubs and to a national rail system."

Acela Express is the forerunner of high-speed rail projects now under development in several other corridors around the country. The Conference backs bipartisan legislation pending in the 106th Congress that would dedicate $10 billion for these high-speed rail corridors.

The Conference has supported this high-speed rail initiative as a cornerstone of their call for a "National Rail Policy for the 21st Century." Led by Mayor Coles as Conference President, the Mayors have been meeting to craft a strategy for increasing investment in passenger rail, with the most recent session occurring in September at the Conference's Summer Leadership Meeting in Boise. At this session, the Mayors also met with the top policy advisors to the Bush and Gore campaigns and urged them to make investment in rail infrastructure a priority for their respective Administrations. The Mayors will continue to highlight these issues throughout the presidential transition, and will convene a National Rail Summit January 17th, 2001, during the 69th Winter Meeting of the Conference of Mayors.


To schedule interviews with Mayors on the train, please contact Kevin McCarty or Jubi Headley at (202) 744-9337 (mobile). For more information on Amtrak's new Acela Express service, please contact Rick Remington at (202) 908-3860, or visit Amtrak's website at

Additional Contacts:

Tod McKay, City of Boise, (208) 866-2967 (mobile)
Rhonda Spears, City of New Orleans, (504) 565-6580

The United States Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are about 1,100 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.