Amtrak’s 2012 capital-spending plan includes work on several major Northeast Corridor infrastructure projects, as well as facility upgrades in other parts of the country, says Joseph Boardman, the railroad’s president.

Boardman told reporters at a Jan. 11 briefing at Amtrak’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, “We’re actually moving forward, we think, in a pretty aggressive way with an agenda to build for the future, while we strengthen our current services.”

In listing current and upcoming projects, he said the company will move forward in the current fiscal year with engineering and other pre-construction work for a $450-million upgrade of its electrical system and track in central New Jersey.

The project, which covers a 24-mile stretch between Trenton and New Brunswick, aims to increase train speeds to 160 mph from the current 135 mph maximum on that segment. Construction is to begin in 2013.

Details about the contracting schedule were not immediately available.

Amtrak also will spend $15 million this year for planning, design and environmental review for the Gateway program, which envisions two new Hudson River tunnels to link New Jersey and New York City and a replacement for the 100-year-old Portal Bridge, which spans the Garden State's Hackensack River.

Boardman did not have an estimate for the Gateway project’s cost, but it clearly will be a multi-billion-dollar endeavor.

He said, “We believe that both New York and New Jersey are going to be interested in making some investment in the Gateway project. We know it’s going to be…critical for our high-speed service through to Boston from Washington....”