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Amtrak conducts 'Industry Day' to find contractors for Baltimore-Potomac Tunnel project

Amtrak conducts 'Industry Day' to find contractors for Baltimore-Potomac Tunnel project
Amtrak conducts 'Industry Day' to find contractors for Baltimore-Potomac Tunnel project 02:04

BALTIMORE -- Amtrak is getting the gears going on the $6 billion project that will replace the Baltimore-Potomac Tunnel with a brand new one. It is currently the oldest Amtrak tunnel in America.

Hosting an Industry Day at Coppin State University Thursday, Amtrak invited dozens of contractors so they could learn how they can be a part of this.

Brittany Adams, who was one of the contractors, said her family has owned JJ Adams Fuel Oil Company in Baltimore for decades.

"We've been here 60 years plus and it feels good to still get our name out there," Adams said.

The B&P Tunnel Replacement Program will create a new Frederick Douglass Tunnel, which could allow trains to go up to 110 mph. Right now, with the current tunnel, trains can only go up to 30 mph because of the tunnel's design.

According to the White House, the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel creates the biggest bottleneck between Washington and New Jersey.

During his visit to Baltimore in January, President Joe Biden talked about the need to replace the 150-year-old tunnel when announcing the project.

President Biden: $6 Billion tunnel project to Cut D.C. commute time to 30 minutes 00:39

"The structure is deteriorating, the roof is leaking, the floor is sinking," Biden said. "This is the United States of America for god's sake, we know better than that."

Adams is hoping her family's company can be a fuel supplier for the project.

"With all the tunneling that they're doing, it involves that equipment being moved with diesel fuel," Adams said. That's what we do, [we supply that]."

Amtrak invited a variety of different contractors for their Industry Day event, ranging from large to small companies.

Mark Milton, Amtrak's senior director for the B&P Tunnel Replacement Program, said they're looking for the best combination of companies to get this new tunnel made.

"We're bringing them together to try to start having them form teams," Milton said. "Then also get everybody some more information about the program and the potential opportunities coming up here very shortly."

Some of those opportunities include community projects in West Baltimore, where the tunnel runs underneath.

Another reason Adams wants in on the project is it's helping her home.

"It feels good to be in the city and doing things for the city," she said. "As for as our firm is concerned, I'm third generation. So, we're in it to win it. We're here for the long haul."

As for when the physical work starts, that's slated to begin later this year. The Frederick Douglass Tunnel is expected to be completed and ready for service in 2033 or 2034.

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