CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Amtrak has unveiled its vision for expanded services across the country under President Biden’s sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure proposal.
Amtrak wants to increase services from Chicago to Memphis, meaning more stops each day in Champaign-Urbana, Rantoul, Mattoon and Effingham.
Right now, that line has roughly three northbound and three southbound trains running that route.
Amtrak officials say in 2019, the trains carried nearly 2 million customers just on Illinois-serviced routes from Chicago to downstate Illinois and Chicago to Milwaukee.
“We can grow that even further and give you an even better option than the endless drives across the cornfields when instead you could be on a train sleeping or texting or emailing or watching a movie on your device,” spokesman Marc Magliari said. “So many better ways to travel than following that dotted white line.”
According to a release from Amtrak, the plan would add at least 30 new routes and more trips to at least 20 existing routes nationwide. It would serve up to 160 more communities, with 20 million more passengers than the 32 million that used Amtrak in 2019.
If President Biden’s plan is approved, rail transportation could get up to $80 billion.
His administration is aiming to get the American Jobs Plan approved during the summer, but could run into roadblocks with Republicans, who are opposed to the tax hikes that would likely accompany the plan.