The infrastructure bill that President Biden plans to sign Monday contains a historic amount of new funding for passenger rail service and aims to remake its role in American transportation, but any boost for the nation’s bullet train ambitions will be limited at best.
Exactly how much money will reach various rail projects — including the financially challenged California bullet train — is still an unknown and will depend on how the complex law is administered and developed into grant programs.
Hopes for a $100-billion national high-speed rail program, a goal backed by former secretaries of transportation, labor unions, major engineering firms and rail advocates, were dashed by the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Most of the money for rail systems will go to Amtrak’s service on the East Coast, various long-distance Amtrak routes and freight rail systems.
The follow-up social and climate legislation, the so-called Build Back Better bill, contains a $10-billion clause for high-speed rail projects across the country, as well.
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