Amtrak Given $2.45 Billion Federal Loan

Amtrak Given $2.45 Billion Federal Loan

A $2.45 billion loan to the publicly owned rail company Amtrak has been announced by Joe Biden, the US Vice-President. This is the biggest single loan in the history of the US Department of Transportation. The Vice President’s office did not, however, disclose the terms of the loan.

The money will be used to purchase 28 new train sets for the Acela service between Boston and Washington expanding its capacity to 40%. It will also be utilized to repair the railway and upgrade terminals including Baltimore’s Penn Station and Washington’s Union Station.

Biden said that the loan is critical towards investing in speed trains that help travelers in the Northeast Corridor. He reiterated that the investment would create new jobs and keep the whole country moving. The Northeast Corridor is the only profitable and the busiest rail line in the country.

Amtrak said that they would be financing the infrastructure improvements and train sets using the federal administered Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Plan that will be repaid by the growth of revenues in the Northeast Corridor.

The financing of Amtrak has been discussed widely in Congress, and not all congressmen are strong supporters of passenger trains. Amtrak has been faced with criticism from different quarters claiming that it should operate efficiently or be privatized. This has resulted in challenges of financing train stations and tracks at the federal level.

Biden’s support for the publicly owned rail company is well known. For more than 35 years, he has commuted from Wilmington to Washington for almost every workday. He said that Amtrak staff members have become his best friends after making over 8000 round trips and travelling more than 2,100,000 miles on Amtrak. 

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