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CNEC’s Advocacy Results in $80 Billion For Rail Infrastructure in the American Jobs Plan


April 7, 2021


Mike Friedberg


(Washington, D.C.) – On March 31, President Joe Biden released his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan, which urges Congress to make significant investments to improve the safety, efficiency, and future growth of passenger rail. Due to the long-term advocacy of the Coalition of the Northeast Corridor (CNEC), the American Jobs Plan specifically provides $80 billion to address Amtrak’s repair backlog; make significant investments in critical infrastructure, including, but not limited to stations, tracks, and connecting rail to new communities along the Northeast Corridor (NEC); connect new city pairs; and more.

“Today, there are more than 100 projects along the NEC that require federal investment,” said CNEC Chair Ronnie Hakim. “To garner momentum for these projects, CNEC members have long advocated for an infrastructure package that targets federal resources specifically to address the Corridor’s aging transportation infrastructure.”

“We are pleased to see that President Biden and Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg share CNEC’s goal of investing in the NEC to improve passenger safety and efficiency, stimulate the economy up and down the Corridor, and get people back to work,” said CNEC Executive Director Michael Friedberg. “We look forward to working with Congress to pass this much needed infrastructure package.”

Relevant Excerpts from the American Jobs Plan:

Fix highways, rebuild bridges, upgrade ports, airports and transit systems. The President’s plan will modernize 20,000 miles of highways, roads, and main-streets. It will fix the ten most economically significant bridges in the country in need of reconstruction. It also will repair the worst 10,000 smaller bridges, providing critical linkages to communities. And, it will replace thousands of buses and rail cars, repair hundreds of stations, renew airports, and expand transit and rail into new communities.

Modernize public transit. Households that take public transportation to work have twice the commute time, and households of color are twice as likely to take public transportation. Our current transit infrastructure is inadequate – the Department of Transportation estimates a repair backlog of over $105 billion, representing more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations, and thousands of miles of track, signals, and power systems in need of replacement. This translates to service delays and disruptions that leave riders stranded and discourage transit use. President Biden is calling on Congress to invest $85 billion to modernize existing transit and help agencies expand their systems to meet rider demand. This investment will double federal funding for public transit, spend down the repair backlog, and bring bus, bus rapid transit, and rail service to communities and neighborhoods across the country. It will ultimately reduce traffic congestion for everyone.

Invest in reliable passenger and freight rail service. The nation’s rail networks have the potential to offer safe, reliable, efficient, and climate-friendly alternatives for moving people and freight. However, unlike highways and transit, rail lacks a multi-year funding stream to address deferred maintenance, enhance existing corridors, and build new lines in high-potential locations. There are currently projects just waiting to be funded that will give millions more Americans reliable and fast inter-city train service. President Biden is calling on Congress to invest $80 billion to address Amtrak’s repair backlog; modernize the high traffic Northeast Corridor; improve existing corridors and connect new city pairs; and enhance grant and loan programs that support passenger and freight rail safety, efficiency, and electrification.

Build a more resilient electric transmission system. Through investments in the grid, we can move cheaper, cleaner electricity to where it is needed most. This starts with the creation of a targeted investment tax credit that incentivizes the buildout of at least 20 gigawatts of high-voltage capacity power lines and mobilizes tens of billions in private capital off the sidelines – right away. In addition, President Biden’s plan will establish a new Grid Deployment Authority at the Department of Energy that allows for better leverage of existing rights-of-way – along roads and railways – and supports creative financing tools to spur additional high priority, high-voltage transmission lines. These efforts will create good-paying jobs for union laborers, line workers, and electricians, in addition to creating demand for American-made building materials and parts.

CNEC is the business community’s voice for strengthening rail infrastructure in order to reduce congestion, create jobs and grow the economy. We represent diverse stakeholders who rely on the Corridor to conduct commerce, access customers, and transport employees.


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