Boston.com reports that Vice President Biden (VP Amtrak as I like to call him) announced today, a $1.3 billion investment of stimulus funds for Amtrak.
Biden said every passenger rail system in the world relies on subsidies, as do airports and highways, and that for too long Amtrak has been starved for cash.
“I’m tired of apologizing for help for Amtrak,” he said. “It is an absolute national treasure and necessity.“
I think I have a new favorite Biden quote to go with my favorite Obama quote.
Some of the projects slated to receive stimulus funding are:
- $105 million to replace a 102-year-old drawbridge over the Niantic River near East Lyme, Connecticut.
- $82 million to repair old rail cars and put them back into service.
- $63 million to fix Amtrak’s aging power supply system on the Northeast Corridor.
- Installing better signals that will help prevent train collisions and derailments
- Repairs to dozens of aging rail stations, maintenance facilities and warehouses across the country.
Amtrak estimates that the infusion of cash will create 8,000 jobs. The agency currently has a backlog of $5 billion worth of unfunded projects. Despite the Bush administration’s disdain for Amtrak, revenue and ridership has risen for the last 6 years, to a record 28.7 million people last year.