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Sen. Coons leads group asking Biden for funding to improve passenger rail in the Northeast

Courtesy of the office of Sen. Chris Coons

Sen. Chris Coons is calling for improvements to the Northeast rail infrastructure.


President Biden is shifting his focus this week towards a $3 trillion package tackling America's degrading infrastructure.


As he rolls out his plan to bring Americas infrastructure into the 21st century, his allies in Congress are pressuring him on various fronts.


That includes Coons, who joined a letter to the president last week asking Biden to provide over $55 billion in investments for the Northeast passenger rail corridor.


He says travelling to Washington D.C. by rail frequently, he’s witnessed firsthand the crumbling tunnels and bridges in desperate need of repair.


“This is an opportunity for us to create high quality American jobs, to reinvest in our region and to make our country more competitive by investing in upgrading the quality of rail on the East Coast," said Coons.


Coons says the $55 billion would go towards bringing the Northeast corridor to what’s called a state of good repair, which he says hasn’t been met with previous funding.


The letter was co-signed by Sen. Chris Murphy from Connecticut along with 12 other senators.


Biden is a long-time supporter of passenger rail, but faces many infrastructure challenges to address alongside it, including bridges, roads and waterways.


But the decision to tackle infrastructure next was met with frustration from gun safety advocates and the families of recent mass shooting victims, who believe Biden should fulfill campaign promises to focus on gun violence.


Coons thinks there’s opportunity to address both.


“I just am resisting the characterization that somehow President Biden, by focusing on infrastructure, is not paying attention to what’s happening in Atlanta and Denver and frankly here in Wilmington and throughout our country," he said.


Coons says lawmakers are considering many gun safety bills, including one he introduced requiring law enforcement be notified if someone fails a background check.


Biden is longtime ally of gun safety measures from his time in the Senate, when he spearheaded the Brady Bill, requiring background checks on most gun sales and a temporary ban on assault-style weapons.


Roman Battaglia a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.


Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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