What the beleaguered operator should do with $66 billion from Congress.
By Henry Grabar, July 30, 202112:31 PM
Amtrak Joe delivers.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill that seems likely to pass the Senate contains $66 billion for intercity rail, which is pretty damn close to the $80 billion President Joe Biden asked for in April. The White House calls it “the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak 50 years ago.”
The deal includes $22 billion in “grants” for Amtrak, another $24 billion specifically for the Northeast Corridor, and another $20 billion for intercity service, safety grants, and grade crossing improvements. (What’s the difference between the first chunk of grants and the last? The White House hasn’t detailed that yet.)
That will mean better Amtrak service on existing high-traffic routes (relatively speaking) like Portland–Seattle, Richmond–D.C., and Chicago–Milwaukee. It might mean new service in fast-growing regions, like between Charlotte and Atlanta or Atlanta and Nashville.