President Joe Biden visited an Amtrak train station on Friday to promote his $1.9 trillion infrastructure proposal, saying the United States is "way behind" in improving its transportation grid and needs to do so to keep up with China.
'Amtrak Joe' Biden pushes infrastructure in Philly
“And like the rest of our infrastructure, we’re way behind the rest of the world right now.…” U.S. President Joe Biden – aka “Amtrak Joe” – was in his element Friday, visiting an Amtrak train station in Philadelphia to promote his $1.9 trillion infrastructure proposal.
The president argued the country must upgrade its transportation grid, especially if it wants to keep up with China.
“We need to remember we’re in competition with the rest of the world.
People come here and set up businesses, people stay here, people grow, because of the ability to access transportation, access all the infrastructure.” His speech took place on Amtrak’s 50th anniversary, and provided a moment of nostalgia for Biden, who as a U.S. senator commuted by train for years between his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, and Washington, D.C.
“Amtrak became my family.
I literally, literally, every single day that I was in the United States Senate, got the either the 7:28, it became the 7:32, and got home on, if I got lucky I got the Metro, the last one left at 6....” The visit was part of his "Getting America Back on Track Tour" that began in Georgia on Thursday, with more travel expected next week.
The stops are intended to build momentum for his infrastructure proposal and a separate $1.8 trillion "American Families Plan." Republicans and even some Democratic lawmakers have balked at the price tag.
One of them is Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia – a key vote in an evenly split Senate - who told reporters he was "uncomfortable" with the amount of money Biden was proposing to spend.
But back in his home state, several elected officials, including Republicans, feel differently, saying the more money the better to draw new workers to the state.
The American Society of Civil Engineers rates West Virginia a "D" for infrastructure, and nearly one in five residents live in an area without fixed broadband, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
The dire situation led the state's Republican governor, Jim Justice, last week to say he'd welcome the funds Biden is proposing.