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Biden admin announces more details of nationwide rail expansion

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The White House announced Friday a major expansion of high-speed rail around the country paid for by the infrastructure bill passed earlier in Biden’s term.

The White House announced $8.2 billion for ten passenger train projects around the country, including high-speed rail.

“Key selected projects include: building a new high-speed rail system between California and Nevada, which will serve more than 11 million passengers annually…” the White House said in a statement. “…creating a high-speed rail line through California’s Central Valley to ultimately link Los Angeles and San Francisco, supporting travel with speeds up to 220 mph; delivering significant upgrades to frequently-traveled rail corridors in Virginia, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia; and upgrading and expanding capacity at Chicago Union Station in Illinois, one of the nation’s busiest rail hubs.”

This announcement is part of the $66 billion allocated by Congress for rail investment.

The White House said there would be tens of thousands of union jobs because of the taxpayer-funded project, which will largely be paid for through the Federal Railroad Administration’s Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program.

Historically, government-funded train infrastructure projects of this kind have taken much longer and been more expensive than originally planned.

Biden is expected to travel to Las Vegas to give remarks on the rail funding Friday afternoon.

“Other significant projects receiving grants under this announcement include: upgrades to Chicago Union Station; upgrades to the Pennsylvania Keystone Corridor, extending the service west of Philadelphia-Harrisburg to Pittsburgh and adding frequencies; improving the Downeaster corridor in Maine, connecting Boston, Massachusetts, to Brunswick, Maine; rail infrastructure improvements in Montana along a route carrying Amtrak’s Empire Builder long-distance rail service between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest; and replacing a key rail bridge in Alaska used by freight and intercity passenger trains,” the White House said in its announcement.

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