Federal City Digest

Federal City Digest

Vice President Joe Biden joins a handful of senators and representatives at Union Station to announce $1.3 billion in grant funding for Amtrak as part of the economic stimulus package. Video by Anna Uhls/washingtonpost.com
Friday, March 13, 2009

Your Conductor, Amtrak Joe

If an event involves transit and requires a White House presence, chances are that Amtrak Joe will be its designated driver.

Today, a bit after noon, Vice President Biden will host an event in the more glamorous precincts of Washington's Union Station. Instructions to TV trucks include: "After you cross the bridge over the train tracks take the first right . . . down the ramp. Look for scaffolding." The gathering is to announce funding for Amtrak as part of the stimulus. (Below, a train at the Rensselaer, N.Y., station near Albany.)

Amtrak President Joseph Boardman and Acting Federal Railroad Deputy Administrator Jo Strang will also speak.

The event comes on the heels of an announcement, also featuring Biden, from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood yesterday that the Pittsburgh International and Allegheny County airports in Pennsylvania, where the veep was born, will be the first recipients of stimulus funds for airport infrastructure projects.

"This is money that will create jobs now -- but it's also an investment in the long-term safety of our airports and their economic vitality," Biden said in a statement.

"This is a critical investment in our nation's airport infrastructure that will boost the local economy by providing jobs for Pittsburgh-area residents," LaHood added.

The Federal Aviation Administration will allocate $10 million to the Pittsburgh airport to repair Runway 14-32, including "grading, paving, marking signs, and lighting upgrades to the runway," the statement said. Allegheny County will get $2 million to renovate a taxiway and relocate a ramp.

The FAA received $1 billion to allocate to its choice of 3,400 qualified airports, and 50 percent of those funds have to be designated by mid-June.


-- Biden administers the oath of office to Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis during a ceremonial swearing-in at the Labor Department.

-- President Obama meets with Economic Recovery Advisory Board Chairman Paul A. Volcker, then appears with economic advisers to deliver remarks in the Oval Office.

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