$75 Billion 'Connect US' Plan Would Expand Amtrak Service All Over the Country

New attention for a plan to greatly expand Amtrak service in dozens of cities and regions around the United States.

June 21, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Luz Lazo, Ashlyn Still, and Laris Karklis report for The Washington Post on the ongoing efforts to expand Amtrak around the country: "Using its success in the populous Northeast Corridor as a model, Amtrak is pushing a $75 billion expansion to bring trains to dozens of cities and towns across the nation."

The Connect US plan, as the expansion plan is called, would dramatically expand service on corridors around the country, like in Ohio, the Southeast, and the Southwest. The Washington Post coverage is the latest round of media attention to focus on the prospects of expanded intercity rails service around the country. Planetizen first picked up news of the Connect US plan in February 2021. Some of the appeal of this latest round of news coverage is located on the new map created for the article, which clearly illustrates where the plan would implement new or expanded service (click through to the source article to see the new map).

Here's how Lazo, Still, and Karklis summarize the political moment making the Connect US dream seem like a possible reality:

The ambitious plan coincides with the passenger railroad gaining a powerful ally in the White House, where new priorities in Washington laud rail and alternate modes of transportation. The proposal comes as the nation targets infrastructure investments to exit a coronavirus pandemic-induced economic crisis, while state and local officials increasingly are open to options that address highway congestion and climate change.

The Washington Post coverage has also inspired regionally focused news coverage of Connect US, including an article by Josh Green for Urbanize Atlanta that focuses on the potential benefits of the program for the Southeast. The Connect US plan would position Atlanta as a regional hub, with new train routes to Chattanooga, Nashville, Montgomery, and Savannah, plus additional services to Charlotte and Birmingham, explains Green.

Back in February, Planetizen also picked up news about Connect US plan's intentions for Ohio and surrounding states.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 in The Washington Post

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