As part of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that is edging ever closer to passage, Congress is set to give Amtrak $30 billion for the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston, part of a $66 billion grant for the network nationwide.
To some, this may seem like a good step toward realizing a future of American train travel that’s more in line with the high-speed, low(er)-cost systems in countries like Japan and France. Alon Levy, a mathematician who works on the Transit Costs Project at New York University, estimates that somewhere between $15 billion and $20 billion would be needed to implement a high-speed, fairly affordable, and frequently running train system between Boston and Washington.
But Amtrak seems to have less ambitious plans for the “greatest investment in Amtrak’s 50-year history.” Rather than using the funds to build an efficient, high-speed rail in the Northeast, Amtrak has allotted $30 billion for one single project: Gateway. Gateway would restore the aging tracks that bring commuters from New Jersey to New York City, rebuild an existing tunnel, construct a second tunnel, and expand Penn Station.
(CNN) — Created in 1971 from the creaking remains of the classic US railroads that helped build modern America, Amtrak has often lived a precarious existence.
Subject to the whims of politicians in Washington D.C. and constantly under pressure from the well-funded and hugely influential oil, automotive and airline industry lobbies, the national passenger rail operator has been threatened with oblivion on several occasions.
But as it celebrates a 50th anniversary that few would have been brave enough to predict, there are signs that Amtrak’s moment may finally have arrived. The United States remains firmly wedded to the automobile and the sheer size of the nation means that air travel is often the only option for long-distance journeys.
By Betsy Klein, CNN, Updated 12:34 PM ET, Tue April 27, 2021
(CNN) — “Amtrak Joe” is returning to his roots.
President Joe Biden will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Amtrak’s founding when he travels to Philadelphia on Friday to make a push for his massive infrastructure proposal, a White House official confirmed to CNN.
He will be visiting the William H. Gray III 30th Street Station in downtown Philadelphia, the official said.
The train station trip is part of a travel blitz, aptly named the “Getting America Back on Track” tour, which is aimed at highlighting the President’s first 100 days in office and his legislative push for infrastructure, something Biden expected to advocate for as he addresses a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.
Biden is also set to travel to Atlanta on Thursday.
How about a train ride from Nashville, Tennessee, to Atlanta, Phoenix to Southern California, or Louisville, Kentucky, to Indianapolis?Amtrak late Wednesday released a proposed map of new and expanded service if it can land the $80 billion President Joe Biden proposed for the rail service as part of his American Jobs Plan, a massive $2 trillion plan to rebuild the nation’s aging infrastructure.Amtrak’s vision calls for bringing new intercity rail service to up to 160 previously unserved communities over the next 15 years, including 30 potential new routes and enhanced services with more daily trips on existing routes.
¶ DrWeb says: Show don’t tell.. sometimes maps provide the eye and the mind with just the right sense of perspective…
“The maps you are about to see show the massive scope of America’s infrastructure using data from OpenStreetMap and various government sources. They provide a glimpse into where that half-trillion dollars may be invested.”