Biden announces massive new funding package for passenger rail

December 8, 2023

President Biden on Friday was set to announce a new $8.2 billion investment in 10 passenger rail projects across the U.S.

With funding coming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Friday’s announcement marks “the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak 50 years ago,” the White House said in a statement.

The investment would include first world-class high-speed rail projects in U.S. history. Such rail lines, with trains reaching speeds of up to 220 mph, are targeted for construction between California and Nevada, California’s Central Valley (“to ultimately link Los Angeles and San Francisco”), and rail corridors in Virginia, North Carolina and Washington DC.

The new funding will also go to upgrading Chicago Union Station, one of the nation’s busiest hubs. 

“These historic projects will create tens of thousands of good-paying, union jobs, unlock economic opportunity for communities across the country, and open up safe, comfortable, and climate-friendly travel options to get people to their destinations in a fraction of the time it takes to drive,” the White House said.

Planners hope to complete the Brightline West project, linking Los Angeles to Las Vegas, in time for the 2028 Olympics in L.A. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called that an “aggressive timeline,” though he said officials would be monitoring progress to keep it on track.

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