Biden touts high-speed rail plans: Get from Charlotte to Atlanta in half the time

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In remarks touting his American Jobs Plan, President Joe Biden said new high-speed rail would get Charlotteans to Atlanta in just two hours.

“Imagine a two-hour train ride between Atlanta and Charlotte going at speeds of 220 miles an hour,“ Biden said at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia on Friday, according to a copy of his address on

That trip now takes about five and a half hours, according to Amtrak’s schedule.

Biden also mentioned quicker trips between Chicago and Detroit and Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and said Amtrak plans to serve 160 more communities nationwide.

“What this means is that towns and cities that have been in danger of being left out or left behind will be back in the game,“ he said.

Biden’s plan would spend $80 billion on rail.

“We have a huge opportunity here to provide fast, safe, reliable, clean transportation in this country,” the president said. “And transit is part of the infrastructure.”

“And like the rest of our infrastructure, we’re way behind the rest of the world right now,” he said. “We need to remember: We’re in competition with the rest of the world.”

Amtrak map of new routes

In March, taxpayer-funded Amtrak unveiled a map of proposed new rail routes across the U.S. that could be built by 2035 under Biden’s American Jobs Plan.

Under the plan, Charlotteans could one day ride passenger rail to the North Carolina mountains and coast, The Charlotte Observer previously reported.

Charlotteans would connect to Asheville via Salisbury and to Wilmington via Raleigh, the Amtrak map shows.

The plan also establishes new service from Charlotte to Greenville, S.C., Atlanta and possibly cities in Alabama, although Amtrak said it hasn’t determined when the new routes could begin.

Raleigh to Richmond

The Amtrak map also shows a proposed new line from Raleigh to Richmond, Virginia.

That new high-speed passenger service would give Charlotteans and others a quicker trip to and from destinations in the Northeast, The News & Observer previously reported.

The N.C. Department of Transportation in September received a $47.5 million federal grant for the Raleigh-to-Richmond service, The N&O reported at the time.

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