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Biden celebrates Amtrak's 50th anniversary while touting infrastructure package

President Joe Biden
Posted at 11:16 AM, Apr 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-30 15:22:54-04

While serving six terms in the U.S. Senate from 1972 to 2008, Joe Biden was a fixture on the Amtrak train that traveled between Washington, D.C. and his home in Delaware. When the Senate was in session, Biden would travel on it daily as part of a regular commute.

So, it was only natural that Biden would celebrate the train service's 50th anniversary while touting his administration's infrastructure package.

Speaking from the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia — a station Biden joked that he only visited if he fell asleep and missed his stop in Delaware — Biden stumped for provisions in his bill that would expand commuter rail access in much of the country.

Biden argued that increased commuter and freight rail would keep cars off the street and planes out of the air, lowering greenhouse gas emissions. He also argued that because trains have more capacity than cars or airplanes, expanded commuter rail would cost less per rider.

"This is a bargain; a bargain is a bargain," Biden said.

He also noted that the U.S. is "way behind" the rest of the world in commuter rail, noting that countries like China already have expansive high-tech rails systems in place.

Friday's address was part of what Biden administration officials are calling the “Getting America Back on Track” tour. Biden gave a similar speech in Atlanta on Thursday.

During that speech on Thursday, Biden advocated for portions of the infrastructure bill that expand health care and child care for working families.

"Health care should be a right, not a privilege," Biden told the crowd at the drive-in rally Thursday night. He talked about both plans, calling them a “blue collar blueprint” for change to move the country forward. The proposals would invest in roads, transit, education and family leave.

At Thursday's event, Biden talked about being a single dad after his wife and daughter were killed in an accident. "I couldn't afford child care," he told the crowd, and had family members who helped him out.

Top-line items from the plans include providing preschool for every three- and four-year-old child, making 2 years of community college free, and offering 12 weeks of maternity/paternity time off for new parents or other medical situations.

Biden has said he wants to pay for the plans by having wealthy Americans and corporations "pay their fair share." He has suggested increasing taxes on those making more than $400,000 and on corporations.

"If we increase the corporate tax rate to 15%," Biden told the crowd Thursday, "we could raise $230 billion."

Biden’s address on Friday will take place at 2:30 p.m. ET.