The bipartisan infrastructure law passed in 2021 was a gift Amtrak waited more than 50 years to receive. With a stroke of his pen, President Joe Biden created the largest federal investment in passenger rail since Amtrak’s creation in 1971.
Amtrak is putting that money toward new trains, major construction like the Hudson tunnel project in the New York City metro area, adding new routes and hiring more staff and frontline workers. “We are doing our part to help deliver a new era of passenger rail improvements and low-carbon mobility,” said Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia in a recent statement. “As we begin the new year, Amtrak will prioritize service improvements for customers, expand our network and advance our infrastructure and fleet modernization programs.”
Although the Northeast Corridor, which serves the Washington, D.C. to Boston route, will get new 160-mph Acela trains beginning next year, most of Amtrak’s focus is on improving and expanding service with trains limited to 125 mph or less.
But one private-sector company could begin constructing a new 180-mph rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas next year. It’s the latest of several attempts, dating back to 1965, at world-class bullet trains in the U.S., as outlined in our history of high-speed rail.
These seven stories highlight significant developments in 2022 in the ongoing effort to improve intercity passenger rail in the U.S.