It’s track to the future for Amtrak.
The passenger railroad service on Wednesday released what it calls “Our 2035 Vision,” an optimistic proposal for what its rail network could look like in 15 years if it gets the proper funding.
The proposal includes service to 160 additional communities, including many that Amtrak says remain underserved today. It also calls for “multiple” daily trips to 15 new states and more than 30 entirely new routes. The expansion, Amtrak says, would better serve population centers as they exist today, rather than reflecting what the country looked like 50 years ago when Amtrak was founded.
“America has changed, but our rail network has not,” Amtrak says. “Many of the country’s biggest and fastest growing metropolitan areas, with diverse populations, don’t have the rail service they deserve.”
It goes on to cite Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Houston as examples of cities where rail service is not up to snuff. It also points out that many major cities don’t have any Amtrak service at all, including Las Vegas; Nashville; Columbus, Ohio; and Phoenix. Amtrak’s 2035 fact sheet is accompanied by a color-coded map, with light-blue lines indicating where the new routes would be.
Of course, for any of this to happen, Amtrak would need considerable funding from the federal government. President Joe Biden, a noted Amtrak regular, has proposed $80 billion specifically for rail travel as part of his massive $2 trillion infrastructure plan, but the plan faces an uphill battle in Congress.
And Congress, as we know, controls the purse strings—now and in the future.