By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor, ARTBA

Amtrak, the national passenger rail operator, said its ridership and ticket revenue remained mostly steady in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2015, but added that “significant and predictable investment is needed to ensure that intercity passenger rail will continue to deliver nationwide benefits” to America’s economy.

Amtrak blamed lower gas prices and significant weather events, particularly on the busy Northeast Corridor, for a less than 1 percent decline in sales and ridership. Amtrak said it still provided transportation to more than 30.8 million customers, reflecting continued strong demand for five straight years.

On the Northeast Corridor line, an essential artery that serves the major Northeast cities of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Amtrak said it served its highest ridership ever of 11.7 million. The company said it looked forward to working with New York, New Jersey and the Port Authority to form the Gateway Development Corporation and begin work on the Gateway Program, a set of strategic rail infrastructure improvements designed to improve services and create new capacity for trains running under the Hudson River between the two states.