Amtrak CEO: Infrastructure bill has more funding than they’ve had “in our 50 years of history combined”

In an interview on “Axios on HBO”, Bill Flynn, the CEO of Amtrak said the new infrastructure bill will be “absolutely transformational” and will provide “more funding than we’ve had in our 50 years of history combined.”

Celebrating the 50-year anniversary of Amtrak, Flynn went on the show to talk about the rail company’s plans for its expansion, as well as the measures it’s taking in regards to th Covid-19 vaccine and reducing carbon emissions. The rail company will receive $66 billion for expansions if President Joe Biden, a long-time Amtrak customer, signs the infrastructure bill, which the House has passed.

The House just passed the infrastructure bill, 228-206, settling at $1.2 trillion, down from the $2.25 trillion initially proposed. Amtrak will be receiving $66 billion, a figure the company has never seen, half of which will go towards expanding rails, particularly in intercity areas, throughout the U.S.

Some examples of new railways are Phoenix to Tucson and Los Angeles to Las Vegas, as well as rails connecting Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati. He also said that ideally there would be a railway going through Nashville.

Amtrak has pledged to reduce its emissions by 40% by the end of the decade. Flynn was asked if he thought this was enough. He responded, “We take environmental threat and environmental risk very seriously,” adding that reductions are “never enough” but it would continue to be an “important goal and an important achievement.”

Flynn also talked about the Covid-19 virus and vaccine. He said that 3,000 of Amtrak’s 18,000 employees have gotten the virus at some point and the company has seen 30 deaths among staff. At the time of the interview, 85% of staff had received at least one dose of the vaccine, which was an increase from August’s 50%.

A vaccine requirement among employees has not been mandated, but employees are encouraged to get vaccinated. “We don’t want to see people leave the company, leave the corporation. We want people to be vaccinated, to be healthy and have a great career here […] Our goal is to speak in human terms.”




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