Amtrak unveiled an ambitious rail expansion map, responding to President Biden’s $ 2 trillion infrastructure plan with a “2035 vision” of how its service could connect more states and increase the number of travelers. The White House set its goals to improve traffic in the United States earlier this week, including dramatically improving the EV charger infrastructure and making long-overdue repairs and replacements on roads and bridges.
Amtrak is fully committed to getting a good deal of that money for itself and believes it has a justification as to why it makes economic and environmental sense. “Traveling on Amtrak is up to 83% more energy efficient than driving and up to 73% more energy efficient than flying,” he argues.
Founded in 1971, Amtrak currently serves 46 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces, with routes that span 21,400 miles of trails. Although run as a for-profit organization, it is wholly owned by the US federal government through the Secretary of Transportation. It also receives a combination of state and federal subsidies for funding, as well as travel expenses.
“Decades of declining public investment have left our roads, bridges, railways and transit systems in disrepair, with an accumulation of trillions of dollars of necessary repairs,” the White House said yesterday when it unveiled the Biden Employment Plan. Rail transport, in particular, was cited as a pain point, with the DoT estimating that it contributes to a repair portfolio valued at more than $ 105 billion.
“The country’s rail networks have the potential to offer safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives for transporting people and cargo,” said the White House. “However, unlike highways and public transport, the railroad lacks a flow of funding for several years to deal with deferred maintenance, improve existing corridors and build new lines in high-potential locations.”
As a result, the plan includes $ 80 billion to repair Amtrak and modernize its existing routes, in addition to building new ones.
Unsurprisingly, Amtrak is excited about this prospect. A new map has been published that shows what you think can be achieved in the next 15 years, with the potential for more than 30 new routes and greater service on more than 20 existing routes. Up to 160 more communities could be served – particularly those with large populations of people of color or economically disadvantaged – with the goal of eventually adding an additional 20 million passengers to the 32 million passengers served in 2019.
“Big cities like Houston, Atlanta and Cincinnati have a service that is simply inadequate, with trains that stop only once a day and often in the middle of the night,” Amtrak highlights the current state of the game. “Other cities like Las Vegas, Nashville, Columbus and Phoenix” lack service, added the railway company.
“President Biden’s infrastructure plan is what this nation has been waiting for,” said Bill Flynn, Amtrak’s CEO, in a statement. “Amtrak must rebuild and improve the Northeast Corridor and our National Network and expand our services to more parts of America. The NEC’s many important tunnels and bridges – most of which are more than a century old – must be replaced and upgraded to avoid devastating consequences for our transport network and the country. “
Congress will vote if it approves the Biden plan and gives the green light to financing.