Amtrak is hoping President Biden is true to his nickname after the passenger service’s latest budget request.
On April 29 Amtrak asked Congress for $5.4 billion for the next budget year, which starts on Oct. 1. President Biden, called “Amtrak Joe”, is expected to attend Amtrak’s 50th anniversary event on April 30 in Philadelphia.
The passenger rail carrier says it is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, and $3.88 billion of the request will go towards basic needs. However, another $1.55 billion is needed to take care of Northeast Corridor infrastructure projects and to begin expanding service around the country. Over a five-year span, Amtrak wants $31 billion in federal aid to address the Northeast Corridor, with $16 billion going to the Gateway Project. By 2035, Amtrak’s wish is to have 39 new corridor routes serving as many as 166 cities.
Amtrak has received $3.7 billion in emergency funding since March 2020, and in 2019 the passenger carrier took in $2 billion. The Biden administration’s April 9 budget has $2.7 billion going to Amtrak, a 35% increase over pre-COVID levels.
On April 27, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced that the Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration is making more than $1.69 billion available to Amtrak to provide relief from the impacts of COVID-19 to the company’s business operations, workforce, and state funding partners. The funding is provided under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.