President Joe Biden pledged $16 billion in federal money to improve Amtrak in the nation’s Northeast Corridor, including New York, Boston, and Washington, DC.
Biden announced the pledge at an event in Delaware on Monday, where he said that the train system desperately needs improvement and repairs. He cited his personal experience of waiting on a stopped train on his way home.
“I know how much it matters,” he said.
“How can you be a leading country in the world and have a second-rate infrastructure?” he asked. “It’s not possible.”
Biden also attacked Republicans, accusing them of slashing Amtrak budgets.
“This is the USA, for God’s sake. We’re better than that, and now we’re proving it,” he said.
“They’re trying to make it slower … and less safe,” he added. “We’re not going to let them stop the progress we’re making. I truly believe this country’s about to take off. For the first time in a long time, we’re bringing pride back.”
According to CNN, the Biden administration said it “selected projects including aging bridges and tunnels in need of replacement and said the $16.4 billion includes funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
A White House official further said that the funds will go to upgrading the “aging infrastructure on the nation’s most heavily traveled rail corridor to increase train speeds, reduce passenger delays, and create good-paying union jobs.”
“The largest slice of funding will go to the underwater train tunnels connecting New York and New Jersey. The Gateway Hudson River Tunnel – which the Amtrak CEO has said would cause a ‘meltdown’ if it failed – is more than a century old and is corroding after flooding during Superstorm Sandy more than a decade ago,” noted CNN.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg backed the funding.
“Americans need and deserve world-class rail, which is the president’s vision,” Buttigieg said. “But for decades now, we have underinvested as a country in passenger rail in the United States.”
The president’s pledge comes after he issued an executive order holding Norfolk Southern accountable for its involvement in the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. The executive order occurred seven months after the incident.
“My Administration has mobilized a robust, multi-agency effort to support the people of East Palestine, Ohio, and surrounding communities,” Biden’s order said.
Paul Roland Bois directed the award-winning feature film EXEMPLUM, which can be viewed for FREE on YouTube or Tubi. A high-quality, ad-free stream can also be purchased on Google Play or Vimeo on Demand. Follow him on Twitter @prolandfilms or Instagram @prolandfilms.