Biden Visits Cleveland to Plug Transportation Bill

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s shops facility served as the backdrop for a visit by Vice President Joe Biden last week to make a pitch for transit rail and the need to bolster the nation’s transportation infrastructure.

Biden spoke at the RTA’s central rail complex and called for Congress to pass the Obama administration’s $302 billion transportation bill.

The current law, known as MAP-21, expires Sept. 30, but the federal Highway Trust Fund, which pays for highway and transit projects across the nation, is expected to run out of money before that.

“If our Congress doesn’t act soon, the funding that pays for our transportation projects will run out,” Biden said. “The Department of Transportation won’t have a dime to go toward more than 112,000 projects happening around the country. Nearly 700,000 good jobs would be at risk. And some states are already slowing down projects because they’re anticipating this inaction.”

Biden also highlighted federal investment in the improvement and renewal of transit-rail infrastructure in RTA facilities.

This includes $12.5 million in federal funding for a new RTA station for the Red Line in Little Italy-University Circle and $10.5 million to rebuild the Red Line and bus transfer facility at the University-Cedar station, which RTA said is its busiest east side bus terminal.

A $20 million federal grant was also awarded for the construction of a bus transfer facility in Kent and $98 million in federal funding has helped CSX upgrade its tracks through Ohio and other states as part of the development of the railroad’s National Gateway project.

Federal funding has also been used to launch construction of a streetcar line under development in Cincinnati.

Supporting Biden was Midwest High Speed Rail Association Executive Director Richard Harnish.

“Investment in upgrading railroads is a huge generator of jobs and revenue — so it’s a linchpin of economic recovery in Ohio and all across the region,” Harnish said. Harnish called for daylight Amtrak service from Cleveland to Chicago and New York City.

Currently, Amtrak offers only only late-night service at Cleveland, which he said limits its usefulness for business and recreational travel.

“The fact is, the Midwest urgently needs daylight trains to connect local economies and bring people together,” he said. “Midwestern cities depend on fast, convenient and affordable rail service to drive business.”

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One Response to “Biden Visits Cleveland to Plug Transportation Bill”

  1. James Says:

    Go Amtrak! I think there on the right track now!

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