Amtrak on Wednesday released a proposed map that details their new and expanded rail service, including brand new stations in cities without service such as Las Vegas, Columbus, Nashville, and Phoenix – if they can get funding from President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill.
Biden's $2 trillion American Jobs Plan would provide $80 billion to Amtrak, which the company says would bring the Northeast Corridor (NEC), a crucial rail line for America's northeast cities, upgraded service and improve trip times, allow Amtrak to operate underserved communities, and "create jobs, improve the quality of life, reduce carbon emissions and generate economic growth."
"President Biden’s infrastructure plan is what this nation has been waiting for," CEO Bill Flynn said in a statement. "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."
The new train network would create over 30 new routes in 15 states, as well as add more than 20 existing routes with more trips, connecting up to 160 more communities and allowing the company to serve 20 million more passengers than the 32 million served in the 2019 fiscal year, according to Amtrak.
New proposed services include routes in Wisconsin, routes throughout the South, and a revamped Texas network.
"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 added. "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 is a known train enthusiast, estimating that he has made 8,000 round trips on Amtrak between Washington, D.C. and Wilmington, Del. over the years. Biden began making the Amtrak commute every day shortly after becoming a Senator in 1972, after his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident, so he could be home to take care of his two sons Hunter and Beau.
Over the decades, Biden famously became friends with Amtrak employees and passengers, and became a fierce advocate for the country's railway system, including facilitating a $2.45 billion federal loan to help Amtrak fix its aging infrastructure and buy new trains.
Biden and then-President-elect Obama rode Amtrak to Obama's inauguration in 2009, and Biden rode the train back to Delaware from Washington after the inauguration of President Trump.
The "Biden Express" carried the then-Senator and his family from Delaware to Washington, D.C. after Biden announced his candidacy for president in 1987.
In 2011, the Wilmington Amtrak station was renamed "Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Railroad Station."
Biden also took part in a "Build Back Better Express" train tour in Sept. 2020 in the leadup to the 2020 presidential election as part of his successful presidential campaign.