Will a new President put US Rail on track? Reaction from around the railway industry

Ilaria Grasso Macola 11 November 2020 (Last Updated November 11th, 2020 09:14)

After a few intense days, Joe Biden was announced on Saturday as the winner of the 2020 US presidential elections. We round up this week’s reaction from all corners of the railway industry.

Will a new President put US Rail on track? Reaction from around the railway industry
What does railway think of Amtrak Joe? Credit: Gage Skidmore.

Presidential candidate Joe Biden is set to become America’s 46th president, after winning the 2020 elections against President Donald Trump.

On Saturday, after four days of vote counting, media around the world announced Biden’s predicted victory after he managed to secure more than the 270 electoral votes needed to become president.

Despite unverified claims of electoral fraud from the Trump administration and supporters, Biden – alongside his VP Kamala Harris – is already preparing for the transition period, setting up a Covid-19 response taskforce for January 2021.

As many industries – including pharma – as well as stock prices have reacted positively, many wonder what the railway industry’s reaction will be.

Biden – whose nickname ‘Amtrak Joe’ showcases his lifelong support of railway – put infrastructure at the centre of his presidential agenda and pledged to spark the “second railroad revolution”, developing the world’s cleanest, safest and fastest railway network.

What does railway think of ‘Amtrak Joe’? What will his victory mean not only for the US but also for the global railway industry?

 

‘Amtrak Joe will lead the most rail-friendly administration in US history’ – IRITS Events

IRITS Events managing director Jules Omura has welcomed the election of Joe Biden, not only because of Biden’s ties with the US railway sector but also because of the President-elect’s commitment to the environment and sustainable mobility.

“We would like to see the United States returning to the Paris Agreement, joining the growing number of countries in pledging net-zero emissions by 2050 and leading the global climate change debate,” he comments.

“We hope to see an ambitious investment into rail as the backbone of a sustainable mobility system, including a coast-to-coast high-speed rail network, revitalisation of urban transit networks and digitalisation of rail infrastructure. “

“We would like the Biden administration’s trade policy to support free and fair public procurement of products and systems based on international competitive tenders, which will benefit both American rail operators and American manufacturers exporting products abroad, as well as the global rail and supply sectors.”

‘The new administration needs to support rail post pandemic’ – AMTRAK

In his congratulation statement for Biden’s victory, AMTRAK president and CEO Bill Flynn stressed the need for the President-elect and Congress to help the railway sector get back on its feet post-Covid with funding and economic stimuli.

“To get the economy moving and help Amtrak and our employees through this unprecedented situation, Congress must act now on pandemic relief and economic stimulus funding which enables Amtrak to recall furloughed employees, restore service frequency on long-distance and state-supported routes, and make investments that will advance critical capital projects such as bridges and tunnels on the Northeast Corridor and new equipment, infrastructure improvements and major station upgrades throughout our network,” Flynn said.

The US rail operator also stressed the importance of sustainable railway if the country wants to spearhead the Green Revolution.

“As we look to the future, expanded Amtrak service is essential to decarbonizing our transportation network, which generates roughly 28% of the US annual carbon emissions,” he added.

“With cars and trucks responsible for nearly 82% of those emissions, we need passenger rail alternatives throughout the nation,” he added. “As we enter our 50th year of service, we stand ready to play an important role in helping our nation recover and grow for the future.”

‘Biden’s vision of modern and sustainable infrastructure matches Patriot’s’ – Patriot Rail and Ports

“It is exciting to have a President familiar with rail, because President-elect Biden rode Amtrak every day when he was a senator to be back home with his family.”

With these words, Patriot Rail and Ports CEO John Fenton congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on Monday. The US short line operator also added that Biden’s vision perfectly aligns with the company’s, as both focus on delivering a modern and sustainable infrastructure.

“We will have vigorous debate about the scope and scale of new infrastructure investment for the nation, how to accelerate technology innovation in transportation, and the best ways to sustain our environment,” Fenton added.

“Patriot looks forward to this dialogue and to working with the new Biden administration on innovative solutions to move our country.”