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Amtrak in Green Bay? Company announces vision plan for new routes

Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 7:22 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 1, 2021 at 7:26 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Amtrak has released a plan to add more passenger lines in the United States, including one that connects to Green Bay.

The map was created as part of the company’s 2035 Vision.

“With a growing and diverse population, a global climate crisis and longer traffic jams, America needs a rail network that offers frequent, reliable, sustainable, and equitable train service. Amtrak has the vision and expertise to deliver it,” reads the vision statement.

The plan calls for putting Amtrak in 160 new communities. CLICK HERE to view the vision plan map of new routes.

Amtrak’s goal is to add 20 million additional passengers to its service.

Under the proposal, Amtrak would create a train hub in Madison with routes to Green Bay and Eau Claire.

“Amtrak is laying out clearly a very aggressive expansion plan for Wisconsin,” Sean Jeans-Gail, vice president of public policy and government at the Rail Passengers Association,” said.

According to the Rail Passengers Association, rural areas stand to benefit the most.

“For the rural passengers, it’s a lifeline. It means they’re able to connect to a medical appointment in a bigger city without having to drive, especially during a snowstorm,” Jeans-Gail said.

The company stated traveling on Amtrak is “up to 83 percent more energy efficient than driving and up to 73% more energy efficient than flying.”

Amtrak added rail service “helps combat inequality in transportation.”

Amtrak will need federal funding to make the plan a reality.

Amtrak released the vision plan as President Joe Biden promotes a $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal.

“It’s a once-in-a-generation investment in America unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago. In fact, it’s the largest American jobs investment since World War II. It will create millions of jobs, good-paying jobs,” Biden said.

The president’s plan aims to fix this country’s aging bridges and roads. In Wisconsin, the state’s chapter of American Society of Civil Engineers gave the Badger State a D+ for its roads and transportation.

“The D+ grade is a result of a lack of investment in transportation infrastructure over the last several years,” Mark Hanson, treasurer for ASCE of Wisconsin, said.

The way to turn things around, according to ASCE’s report, is consistent state investment.

“The transportation infrastructure in Wisconsin has basically been primarily funded from the fuel tax and the registration fee, and that fuel tax has not been adjusted since 1997 by the legislature,” Hanson said.

“This proposal appears to use ‘infrastructure’ as a Trojan horse for the largest set of tax hikes in a generation,” said Republican Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich reacted to Amtrak’s plan with a tweet reading, “1000% yes”

Republican Senator Ron Johnson opposed the bill in a statement.

Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin, who supports the bill, labeled it a bold economic plan.

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