LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A train route from Louisville to Chicago via Amtrak is possible under President Joe Biden's proposed infrastructure plan.
Biden outlined a $2.3 trillion plan Wednesday to reengineer the nation’s infrastructure in what he billed as “a once-in-a-generation investment in America.”
The plan includes $80 billion for Amtrak, the nations largest passenger rail travel provider.
Wednesday, Amtrak unveiled how it might use that potential funding. According to its Amtrak Connect US vision plan, it would add 30 new routes, extend up to 20 routes and add daily trips in 15 more states by 2035.
In addition to Louisville, new Amtrak routes are proposed in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Las Vegas and Nashville, among other cities.
Amtrak also hopes to expand its train services in California, out of Chicago and along the East Coast.
"Amtrak must rebuild and improve the Northeast Corridor and our National Network and expand our service to more of America," Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said.
Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf, who also serves as a board member on the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency, says fixing bad bridges and roads must be a priority of the federal government. However, he says bringing Amtrak to Louisville would be a "win-win."
"We want Amtrak to be a part of Louisville to bring the people here to realize that Metro Louisville is a place to be. It's a destination. It's a place that we want others to come and enjoy," Dieruf said. "If we're ever going to uplift this community, we have to have all means of transportation, whether it's Amtrak, airlines or cars."
If it receives the "significant government funding" it needs, Amtrak would carry out the vision over 15 years.
Dieruf says the longer timeframe is not necessarily a bad thing for Louisville.
"I would rather have the face of Louisville look fantastic when they come, rather than come right now," he said. "We're not ready, the community's and Amtrak's not ready."
A spokesperson for Mayor Greg Fischer said Louisville Metro Government looks forward to exploring the idea of an Amtrak route that includes Louisville.
"The inclusion of Amtrak’s long-term vision for an expanded rail map could bring more connectivity to our city, attract more visitors and new residents and create new jobs, and we look forward to exploring this opportunity with our federal and community partners," wrote Jessica Wethington.
Amtrak operated a train in the Louisville area in the past, but according to online archives, a short-lived route known as the Kentucky Cardinal folded in 2003 due to various difficulties.
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