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Amtrak To Reach More Cities, Upgrade Crucial Corridors With Infrastructure Bill Funds

An Amtrak train in Los Angeles

Amtrak is on the verge of significant expansion to as many as 160 new communities thanks to the new trillion-dollar federal infrastructure bill.

The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed late Friday by the House of Representatives, will deliver more than $100B in investment to passenger and freight rail, Construction Dive reported. Of that amount, $19.2B specifically will be earmarked for Amtrak investment, the American Public Transit Association said

By 2035, the nation’s passenger rail service could reach more cities with 30 new routes and establish more frequent service on at least 20 existing lines. Major projects include a new $11B Hudson River Tunnel between New Jersey and New York that could begin construction in 2025.

Amtrak over the summer projected a $117B price tag for massive expansion by 2035, including shoring up the important Northeast Corridor, which it said was overdue for renovation.

“The Northeast Corridor is such a massive part of the Northeast economy, and the Northeast economy is such a huge driver of the national economy,” Real Estate Board of New York Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Reggie Thomas told Bisnow earlier this year.

Plans to upgrade the 450-mile corridor from Washington, D.C., to Boston by 2035 could spur $195B in economic activity and support more than 26,000 permanent jobs, Amtrak’s study earlier this year found.

Amtrak could also introduce service between thriving Southeast metros like Atlanta to Charlotte and Atlanta to Nashville, as well as farther north between Cleveland and Detroit. The nation’s largest metro without Amtrak service, Columbus, Ohio, could also get service with a new Cincinnati-to-Columbus-to-Cleveland route. 

The routes would reach previously underserved communities, which could come alongside improved public transportation and transit-oriented development, William Murdock, executive director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, told Construction Dive. 

The trillion-dollar infrastructure bill will also send $110B toward roads and bridges and $39B for public transit improvements. Biden said he would sign the bill once lawmakers return from a weeklong recess, Time reported