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Biden infrastructure plan could bring Amtrak service to more cities

Joe Biden Amtrak
Posted at 8:48 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 23:29:10-04

It is no secret that President Joe Biden is a big fan of Amtrak. Well before becoming president, Biden was likely the most prominent and vocal supporter of the rail service.

Now that Biden is in office, major changes could be coming to Amtrak.

Following Biden’s announcement of a $2.2 trillion infrastructure plan, Amtrak released plans for updated service throughout the US. The plan calls on creating 30 new routes, adding more trips on 20 existing routes, and extending service to 160 new communities.

The additional services would be in place by 2035, Amtrak says.

The plan calls on Amtrak service for major cities such as Las Vegas, Nashville, Phoenix, Columbus, and Louisville, which currently don’t have service. Amtrak would also extend services to mid-sized cities such as Green Bay, Wisconsin and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The plan would connect Las Vegas to Los Angeles, Cleveland to Cincinnati, Atlanta to Nashville, Phoenix to Los Angeles and Tucson and Detroit to Toronto.

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By adding Las Vegas, Nashville, Phoenix, Columbus and Louisville, Amtrak would provide service to all of the 30 largest cities in the US.

“Amtrak has a bold vision to bring energy-efficient, world-class intercity rail service to up to 160 new communities across the nation, as we also invest in our fleet and stations across the U.S,” Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said. “With this federal investment, Amtrak will create jobs and improve equity across cities, regions, and the entire country – and we are ready to deliver. America needs a rail network that offers frequent, reliable, sustainable and equitable train service. Now is our time, let’s make rail the solution.”

Biden has pitched $80 billion in funds for Amtrak. The White House said these funds would be used “to address Amtrak’s repair backlog; modernize the high traffic Northeast Corridor; improve existing corridors and connect new city pairs; and enhance grant and loan programs that support passenger and freight rail safety, efficiency, and electrification.”

So far, Biden’s infrastructure plan hasn’t generated much bipartisan support, and whether it ultimately gets GOP support remains questionable. A number of Republicans have scoffed at the price tag of the plan, and the increase of the corporate tax rate.