(CNN) – “Mr. Amtrak,” better known as Vice President Joe Biden, announced stimulus funding for Amtrak trains Friday at Union Station in Washington.
$1.3 billion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be allocated to the inter-city passenger train service which employs nearly 19,000 people.
Alongside a “gang” of rail supporters like Republican Sen. Arlen Specter and Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry, the vice president and Amtrak advocate announced that federal funding will be used to improve safety measures, rebuild passenger rail cars, and handle operating costs.
"I'm tired of apologizing for help for Amtrak. ... It is an absolute national treasure and necessity,” Biden affirmed, reminding the crowd of reporters, “after 9/11, the only thing functioning was this rail system.”
Biden has been a daily rail commuter for over 37 years, traveling from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware to Washington, DC during his terms in the US Senate. Referred to by railway personnel as “Amtrak’s #1 customer,” Biden informed the crowd he hosts the commuter trains’ conductors to his Wilmington home every year for a summer party.