White House announces a flood of money for high-speed rail and other train projects

The White House has announced a significant investment in train projects across the United States. President Joe Biden unveiled $8.2 billion in funding for 10 major passenger rail projects and other rail infrastructure at an event in Las Vegas. This funding is part of the larger Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which allocated $66 billion for rail alone.

One of the highlights of the announcement is $6 billion for high-speed rail in California and Nevada. This funding will support the construction of a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, with service potentially starting as soon as 2028. Trains on this route could reach speeds of up to 186 miles per hour, providing a faster and more convenient travel option between Southern California and Vegas.

Another significant allocation is $3.1 billion for high-speed rail in California’s Central Valley. This funding will contribute to the construction of a rail line that will eventually connect San Francisco and Los Angeles. The money will be used to complete a 119-mile segment currently under construction between Merced and Bakersfield and to build a station in downtown Fresno. However, additional funding of $8 to $10 billion will be required to finish this section alone. The project, known as the bullet train, has faced delays and cost overruns, but the funding from the Biden administration could give it a renewed push.

Ohio is also set to benefit from the rail funding, with potential new routes including Cincinnati-Dayton-Columbus-Cleveland, Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit, and Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus-Pittsburgh. These new routes will significantly increase rail service in an area that currently has limited options for passenger rail.

Furthermore, there will be increased service on Amtrak’s current route to Cincinnati from New York, Washington, and Chicago. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation is providing a $1 billion grant to help restart passenger train service between Raleigh and Richmond. This line has been abandoned for over 50 years, and the funding will aid in the reconstruction of the tracks, connecting North Carolina to Virginia, Washington, and the Northeast Corridor.

Other rail and infrastructure improvements include investments in corridor projects across the country, upgrades to existing lines, extensions to new lines, and proposed high-speed rail programs. There will also be funding for Chicago to upgrade its major rail hub and improve Union Station. Pennsylvania will receive funding for a second Amtrak service between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, as well as upgrades to rail tracks and infrastructure.

Overall, this announcement marks the largest federal investment in passenger rail transportation since the creation of Amtrak in 1971. The funding aims to improve rail service, expand connectivity, and enhance transportation options across the country. With these investments, the White House hopes to bring the standard of passenger rail service in the United States on par with countries like Japan, Germany, Spain, and Italy.

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