Biden Announces $8.2 Billion Investment For Passenger Rail System

President Joe Biden announced a $8.2 billion funding plan for 10 U.S. passenger rail projects nationwide in Las Vegas on Friday.

“Today, the Biden-Harris Administration takes another historic step to deliver the passenger rail system that Americans have been calling for – with $8.2 billion for faster, more reliable, expanded train service across the country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

The funds come from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This is the country’s biggest investment in passenger rails since the creation of Amtrak a half-century ago, White House infrastructure coordinator Mitch Landrieu told Forbes.

The project includes about $3.1 billion for California to complete the first 171 miles of its $100 billion bullet train system and $3 billion for Brightline West, a 218-mile high-speed line from Las Vegas to suburban Los Angeles.

Additional grants will improve busy passenger rail corridors in Virginia, North Carolina and Washington, D.C., and upgrade Chicago’s Union Station.

The Brightline West is predicted to be finished before the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. According to its website, it will be the “first true high-speed passenger rail system in the nation.”

Biden’s plan is to have America enter the competition with rail systems from around the world, such as those in Europe and China.

“This is kind of a watershed moment in the history of rail in the United States of America,” Landrieu said. “As the president has often said, when he talks about Xi Jinping and China and competing with them, the United States ought to have world-class high-speed rail and this is a pretty good stake in the ground toward that goal.”

Administration officals are also hoping that upgrading public transport services will also help gain votes in the 2024 presidential election.

“If you’ve even seen the standard of passenger rail service in Japan, or Germany or for that matter Spain or Italy, and come home, and say, ‘why can’t we have these nice things,’ this is the beginning of the answer to that,” Buttigieg said.

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