The $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the House on Friday is expected to spur the largest expansion in Amtrak’s history while kick-starting repair and replacement projects across the nation’s passenger rail network.
The bill includes $66 billion in new funding for rail to address Amtrak’s repair backlog, improve stations, replace old trains and create a path to modernize the Washington-to-Boston corridor, the nation’s busiest. It would be the biggest boost of federal aid to Amtrak since Congress created it half a century ago.
“It’s transformative,” Amtrak chief executive William J. Flynn said in an interview Monday. Money set aside for Amtrak, he said, “represents more funds than have been cumulatively invested in Amtrak over the first 50 years of our history.”
The funding will help to rebuild the aging infrastructure of the Northeast Corridor, which includes several bridges and tunnels more than 100 years old. But it could also help bring passenger service to new cities and towns across the nation. The changes would mark an overhaul for a service map that has remained nearly unchanged during a period when the nation gained 120 million people.