Biden’s Big Rail Spend!

President Joe Biden, during a visit to Las Vegas on Friday, announced his dedication to advancing high-speed rail projects across the United States. In addition to this announcement, he took the opportunity to express criticism towards former President Donald Trump, questioning his effectiveness as a politician.

Speaking to a group of unionized carpenters, Biden contrasted his actions with Trump’s rhetoric, remarking, “Trump just talks the talk. We walk the walk.” He highlighted Trump’s negative commentary about America and countered it with his observations of ongoing construction and labor efforts in the country.

Biden used the platform to spotlight the allocation of $8.2 billion in new federal funds for ten major passenger rail projects nationwide, drawing a clear distinction between his administration’s approach and that of Trump’s.

He specifically mentioned Trump’s unfulfilled promises regarding U.S. infrastructure investments. Biden also discussed his rail funding plans, which he believes could establish a high-speed train connection between Las Vegas and Los Angeles in time for the 2028 summer Olympics.

This rail project, a 218-mile route connecting Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga, California, is expected to serve over 11 million passengers each year. However, Biden acknowledged that the proposed funds would not cover the entire cost of the project but emphasized his administration’s commitment to enhancing train travel.

In addition to the Las Vegas-Los Angeles route, the funding will be used for various rail improvements. These include upgrading routes in Virginia and North Carolina to connect Richmond and Raleigh, enhancing a rail bridge over the Potomac River for better passenger service in Washington, and making improvements in western Pennsylvania and Maine. Chicago’s Union Station will also see expansions.

The funding for these projects comes from previous federal grants, a 2008 voter-approved bond fund, and proceeds from a cap-and-trade climate program. Despite this, the total funds are still significantly less than the project’s estimated cost of over $100 billion.

The high-speed rail initiative has faced criticism from California Republicans and increasing skepticism from some state Democrats.