In 1972, when Joe Biden was a newly elected U.S. Senator from the state of Delaware, his first wife and daughter were killed in an automobile accident.
He vowed to be home every night for his two sons so he took an Amtrak train for decades between Wilmington, Del., and Washington D.C., even when the boys were grown. CNN once estimated that ‘Amtrak Joe,’ the nickname he picked up, took 8,000 round trips on Amtrak.
So it was only fitting this week that ‘Amtrak Joe’ – now President Joe Biden – help the railroad service celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Biden joined Amtrak executives for a ceremony in Philadelphia to pay homage to the past and share Amtrak’s vision for the future.
“Today we have a once in a generation opportunity to position Amtrak, and rail, and intercity rail, as well in general to play a central role in our transformation of transportation and economic future,” said Biden, who has earmarked $80 billion for Amtrak as part of his $2 trillion infrastructure spending proposal.
“America needs a rail network that offers frequent, reliable, sustainable and equitable train service,” added Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn during the ceremony. “Amtrak has the vision and expertise to deliver it; now we need Congress to provide the funding for the next 50 years.”
Over the next 15 years, Amtrak’s vision for expansion is to connect up to 160 communities throughout the United States by building new or improved rail corridors in more than 25 states. As part of this plan, Amtrak will introduce new stations in over half the U.S. states, increase rail service to 47 of the top 50 metropolitan areas and create over half a million new, well-paying jobs.
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