March 13th, 2009
01:45 PM ET
14 years ago

'Amtrak Joe' gives rail service a boost

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/13/art.cnn.biden.amtrak.jpg caption="Vice President Joe Biden said Friday he holds summer parties at his home for Amtrak train conductors."](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.

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Filed under: Arlen Specter • Joe Biden • John Kerry
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Debi

    You go Joe.... nobody messes with Joe.

    March 13, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. Ellie

    WONDERFUL, God bless you VP Biden!

    March 13, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. SHIRLEY "60"

    President Obama and Vice President Biden, along with their cabinet members, seem to be people who are looking out for us the majority, who are just regular hard-working people. I for one thank them all for what they are doing. The last 8 years, I felt that nobody in charge of our government cared what happened to us or our country. Afterall, personal greed was always the motivation for that previous administration, and look at the hole they dug for us. Through patience and sound decison-making from our leaders, this country will come out of this mess we are in now. We will be stonger and better than we were before, but we might do well to remember, that change needs to start in our hearts.

    March 13, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. Tim

    Hey Debi, I'll mess with Joe. He's a disgrace. You can't possibly like this buffoon.

    March 13, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. Betsy Cannon

    I help fund AMTRAK, so why don't I get invited to Biden's summer party?

    March 13, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Ryan

    Where's the number to that Internet site? Come on Chuck – stand up!

    Biden – what a genius!

    March 13, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. Dee from Rochester, NY

    Everytime I hear how Joe treats/treated the Amtrak conuctors I feel enormous pride for this measure of the man and how he was raised.

    March 13, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Dee from Rochester, NY

    Everytime I hear how Joe treats/treated the Amtrak conuctors I feel enormous pride for this measure of the man and how he was raised.

    March 13, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. Nancy

    Way to Go Mr. Biden! Any chance I can get to take the train, I'm on it. The government should spend some of their time and money looking into updating the whole US railway system. We are practically a 3rd world country when it comes to our train system both mentally and physically!

    March 13, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. Dave

    A bit more insightful and intelligent than 'Drill Baby, Drill'.

    Thanks Joe!

    March 13, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. jaye

    I use the rail service everyday and very seldom ever have to drive anywhere.

    March 13, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. Pam for America & Obama

    We need Amtrack and they remain an affordable alternative to diving. I visit my granddaughter in Seattle every month and I can't drive there for less than the $68 it costs on the train and I arrive relaxed and rested.
    There are also those 19,000 jobs it save!

    March 13, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Lisa P

    Hooray for Joe! Investment in Amtrak is long past due! This country has to stop being penny wise and pound foolish about our transportation infrastructure.

    March 13, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  14. digger

    Good old AMTRAK, just keep pouring money down the rat hole.

    March 13, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. JDC

    Let's see Pelosi take Amtrak instead of wasting millions hauling her worthless butt back and forth across the US!

    March 13, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. digger

    AMTRAK, another gov. run enterprize that can't make a profit and pay for it's self. So we all pay for a few who benift.

    March 13, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. ken

    Why prop up a service that people don't use? If people used AMtrak, they'd have money to do these upgrades on their own. Why should money from a state like Oklahoma that has few Amtrak rails go to upgrading a rail network in the Northeast? If those states think it's a good idea, they should foot the bill.

    Change we can believe in: spending $1.3 billion of money we don't have on a service people don't use.

    March 13, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. Snake eyes

    YES!!! More Rail, less cars.
    Autos wont ever go extict, but rail i a great way to relieve congestion.

    March 13, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. d1120

    What a waste..........

    March 13, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  20. Some Guy

    I ride the train to work every day. I don't see why my tax dollars should be used to pay for the highways y'all drive your big gas-guzzling SUVs on during your hour long commute from your overpriced McMansion to your job. Public roads are socialist.

    March 13, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. Good old AMTRAK, just keep pouring money down the rat hole.

    I agree

    unfortunately your argument is short term

    and our railway is badly caught in capitalism keeping it from achieving anything like what it could be

    anyone who is against Amtrack should tour Europe by rail

    It is a rat hole that needs to be re-organized to reach even a small portion of what it could be

    March 13, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. seebofubar

    Dave, what do you think these trains run on, hot air from Obama's and Bidens mouth? Oil baby oil.

    March 13, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. Expat American

    The train/rail system in Western Europe is wonderful. How come this can not be duplicated in the United States?

    March 13, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Ed

    seebofubar – you are mistaken, at least in part. Much of the Amtrak system has been electrified, it's coal, nuclear, wind, solar, or however the electricity is generated. But then, if you had actually ever been near the Amtrak system in the northeast, you might know that.

    March 13, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. Me

    Reliable transportation? Sounds like commie b.s. to me.

    March 13, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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