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President Biden celebrates 50 years of Amtrak with $80 billion infrastructure push

April 30, 2021
4 min read
President Biden celebrates 50 years of Amtrak with $80 billion infrastructure push
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"Amtrak Joe," also known as President Joe Biden, is in Philadelphia right now where he just finished speaking at Amtrak's 30th Street Station. The president is pushing his massive $1.9 trillion infrastructure plan which includes some $80 billion in funding for the nation's train systems.

President Biden is proposing spending $10 billion a year on passenger rail and freight improvements including new high-speed train cars, repairing train tracks, improving and expanding tunnels, and putting in new rails across the country.

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The president is also helping celebrate the 50th anniversary of Amtrak. "It's an honor to celebrate Amtrak's 50th anniversary. I look forward to a bright future for all American rail," he said.

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks at an event marking Amtrak's 50th Anniversary at the William H. Gray III 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 30, 2021. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP)

The president continued, "We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to position Amtrak — and rail in general — to play a central role in our transportation and economic future. To make the investments that can help get America back on track. No pun intended."

Biden pointed out he helped get federal loans to allow Amtrak to purchase new Acela trains. Those trains are made in America. He also said he protected Amtrak from funding cuts for years.

The president said when it comes to rail America is "behind the curve", but he suggested we could catch up with enough investment. President Biden said:

"Imagine a two hour train ride between Atlanta and Charlotte, going at speeds of 220 miles an hour, a two and half hour trip between Chicago and Detroit or faster and more regular trips between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, a route that I imagine could be pretty popular on Fridays."

He also talked about all the possibilities for inter-city rail on routes like Milwaukee to Green Bay to Madison or Scranton to Allentown to New York. He suggested there are some 160 potential new rail connections.

Related: The major push for high-speed rail

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Biden said a newspaper journalist had once reported that Biden had "taken more than 7,000 roundtrips on Amtrak" during his career. "I think that's an exaggeration," Biden added. It might not be. His love for commuting via Amtrak and passenger rail is no secret. During his many years in the U.S. Senate, he would commute via Amtrak between Delaware and Washington. Biden said, "Amtrak had become my family."

Related: Amtrak showing off new high-speed trains

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks at an event marking Amtrak's 50th Anniversary at the William H. Gray III 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 30, 2021. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

During the 2020 campaign, Biden said he, “will make sure that America has the cleanest, safest, and fastest rail system in the world — for both passengers and freight.”

Related: Amtrak plans to expand new nonstop Acela service from New York

That’s also a priority for Biden’s Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg who told TPG back in February:

".. an American citizen should have nothing to envy from a Japanese or Chinese or for that matter, an Italian or Turkish citizen when it comes to the opportunities for them to travel quickly where they need to be, and safely on passenger rail.”

You can watch all of the president's comments here.

And Amtrak has a sale on now for 50% off many fares. Check that out here.

Featured image by AFP via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more