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Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Proposes Expanding Amtrak Services To 160 New Cities

President Joe Biden‘s $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, which seeks to revitalize American infrastructure, proposes to expand Amtrak services by allocating $80 billion to the railroad service.

Amtrak has already released a proposed map of new and expanded services, including an intercity railway that would reach 160 previously unserved communities, such as Las Vegas, Nashville, Columbus, Ohio and Phoenix. Amtrak has also proposed 30 new potential routes, as well as adding more daily trips on existing routes.

Due to past financial struggles, Amtrak has not had many opportunities to expand and improve its services in recent years, leaving many customers frustrated and dissatisfied. The company hopes to use funds from Biden’s plan to cover the cost of repairs to Amtrak’s heavily used Northeast Corridor service.

The Northeast Corridor, which covers routes such as Washington-New York-Boston, is the busiest railroad in North America, making around 2,200 train trips a day, and about 18 million trips a year (pre-pandemic). Many of the major tunnels and bridges along the Corridor are over a century old and in need of rehabilitation.

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“President Biden’s infrastructure plan is what this nation has been waiting for,” Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said in a statement. “Amtrak must rebuild and improve the Northeast Corridor, our National Network and expand our service to more of America.”

Amtrak’s proposed “Connect US” plan, released on Wednesday, seeks to increase ridership from its current 32 million passengers to over 50 million by 2035. The plan entails construction of new stations and other infrastructure.

The plan also includes:

  • Routes connecting Atlanta to Nashville, Chattanooga, Tennessee; Savannah, Georgia; and Montgomery, Alabama.
  • Routes in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Madison and Eau Claire.
  • Service in Indianapolis and connecting to Louisville.
  • New routes from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and Phoenix to Los Angeles.
  • A Texas network with service from Houston to Dallas.
  • Routes to Scranton and Allentown, Pennsylvania and a route from Manhattan to Nassau County, Long Island.

“With this federal investment, Amtrak will create jobs and improve equity across cities, regions, and the entire country – and we are ready to deliver,” Flynn said.

Kimberly Woods, a spokeswoman for Amtrak, has stated that investment in the project is “scalable,” seeing as it is dependent on approval from Congress.

Biden, who gained the nickname “Amtrak Joe,” has long been a strong advocate for Amtrak’s services. He strong supports the company’s proposed plan. “The American Jobs Plan will build new rail corridors and transit lines, easing congestion, cutting pollution, slashing commute times, and opening up investment in communities that can be connected to the cities, and cities to the outskirts, where a lot of jobs are these days,” Biden said.

Elizabeth Letsou

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