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Charlotte residents could ride rail to Asheville and Wilmington under Biden spending plan

Charlotte residents could ride rail to Asheville and Wilmington under Biden spending plan

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CHARLOTTE — Charlotte residents could one day ride passenger rail to the North Carolina mountains and coast under President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion spending plan.

Taxpayer-funded Amtrak unveiled a map of proposed new rail routes across the U.S. that could be built by 2035 under Biden’s American Jobs Plan, which includes $80 billion for rail.

Charlotteans would connect to Asheville via Salisbury and to Wilmington via Raleigh, the Amtrak map shows.

The plan also establishes new service from Charlotte to Greenville, S.C., Atlanta and possibly cities in Alabama.

“With @POTUS ‘s infrastructure plan, Amtrak will create jobs and improve equity across the country, and we are ready to deliver,” the rail service posted on Twitter on Wednesday.

“America needs a rail network that offers frequent, reliable, sustainable and equitable train service,” Amtrak posted. “Now is our time, let’s make rail the solution.”

When the new North Carolina routes could start “remains to be determined,” Kimberly Woods, public relations manager for Amtrak, told The Charlotte Observer in an email on Thursday.

Resistance to Biden plan

Biden’s plan to fund the improvements through higher corporate taxes was immediately criticized by Republicans and business groups, The New York Times reported. Biden said he would try to get more congressional Republicans on his side, according to The Times.

Three Amtrak trains serve Charlotte at its North Tryon Street station: The Piedmont, to and from Raleigh; the Crescent, to and from New York and New Orleans; and the Carolinian, to and from New York.

Rail work began in summer 2018 at the planned 13-acre Charlotte Gateway Station transportation hub at Trade and Graham streets in uptown.

Gateway Station will accommodate Amtrak, CATS buses, the CityLYNX Gold Line streetcar, taxis and ride-sharing services.

Raleigh to Richmond

The Amtrak map also shows a proposed new line from Raleigh to Richmond, Va.

That new high-speed passenger service would give Charlotteans and others a quicker trip to and from destinations in the Northeast, The (Raleigh) News & Observer previously reported.

The N.C. Department of Transportation in September received a $47.5 million federal grant for the Raleigh-to-Richmond service, The N&O reported at the time.

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