President Biden on Friday plugged his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan at an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of Amtrak, a company near and dear to the longtime rail commuter.
“I’ve been riding Amtrak almost as long as there’s been an Amtrak,” said Mr. Biden, who famously commuted from Delaware to Washington, D.C., via rail when he was a U.S. senator. “Amtrak became my family.”
He was speaking from a station in Philadelphia, Pa., where he says he ended up a handful of times after falling asleep.
“In the past, when I’ve ended up at the 30th Street Station, Amtrak Station, it’s probably because I took the late train back from Washington and I slept through the Delaware stop — literally,” he said. “I only did it about four times. But I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.”
The president included $80 billion for Amtrak’s repair backlog and the Northeast rail corridor, among other items, in his infrastructure package.
The Federal Railroad Administration announced this week that it’s making about $1.7 billion available to the company through funding in Mr. Biden‘s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Congress passed last month.
“We’ve now brought back 1,200 union workers who had been furloughed,” the president said. “And by the way, you get a union wage — not 15 bucks an hour — a prevailing wage.”
He said more money is needed and that if they could straighten out “three curves” in the track from Washington, D.C., to New York the trip would take about an hour and a half.
“To win the 21st century, we’ve got to move. China already has 23,000 miles of high-speed rail — 220 miles per hour,” he said. “We’re behind the curve. But folks, as I said the other night, America is on the move again.”
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.