Biden Bits: About Damn Time…

Biden Tweets Logo. Image by Lenny Ghoul.

President Biden’s public schedule for Tuesday, 01/31/2023:

8:55 AM Out-of-Town Pool Call Time
Joint Base Andrews OverhangClosed Press
9:30 AM In-Town Pool Call Time
In-Town Pool
10:05 AM The President departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews
South LawnOpen Press
10:25 AM The President departs Joint Base Andrews en route Queens, New York
Joint Base AndrewsOut-of-Town Pool
11:20 AM The President arrives in Queens, New York
Open Press
11:30 AM The President departs en route New York, New York
Open Press
11:45 AM The President arrives in New York, New York
Out-of-Town Pool
12:30 PM The President discusses how Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for the Hudson River Project will improve reliability for the 200,000 passenger trips per weekday on Amtrak and New Jersey Transit
Pooled for TV and Pre-Credentialed Media
3:30 PM The President participates in a reception for the Democratic National Committee
Restricted Out-of-Town Pool
4:45 PM The President departs en route John F. Kennedy International Airport, Queens, New York
Out-of-Town Pool
5:10 PM The President departs en route Joint Base Andrews
Out-of-Town Pool
6:15 PM The President departs Joint Base Andrews en route the White House
Joint Base Andrews Out-of-Town Pool
6:25 PM The President arrives at the White House
South LawnPrincipal Deputy Press Secretary Olivia Dalton and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator Mitch Landrieu will gaggle aboard Air Force One en route Queens, New York

YouTube says the audio only press gaggle should have happened at 10:50 a.m. D.C., time.

President Biden has tweeted…

He’s posted 2 tweets so far for Tuesday…

His first tweet is about remarks he will give today. His second tweet is about remarks he gave yesterday; sharing it down thread.

First Tweet for Tuesday.

This morning the White House published the following fact-sheet; President Biden Announces Funding for Major Transportation Projects Funded by Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Announces Funding for Gateway Hudson Tunnel Project and Other Major Projects Across America

Hudson Tunnel Project Will Result in 72,000 Good-Paying Jobs

Continuing the progress implementing the Biden-Harris Administration’s economic agenda, President Biden is visiting New York to announce funding for a critical early phase of the Hudson Tunnel Project and Mega grants for other major infrastructure projects across the country.  The President will announce the Administration has awarded nearly $1.2 billion from the infrastructure law’s new National Infrastructure Project Assistance discretionary grant program (Mega) for nine projects across the country, including over $292 million to complete a critical early phase of the Hudson Tunnel Project.

These infrastructure investments will create good-paying jobs – including union jobs and jobs that do not require a college degree. The projects will grow the economy, strengthen supply chains, improve mobility for residents, and make our transportation systems safer for all users.

This announcement comes on the heels of several other announcements of funding for major infrastructure projects, including more than $2 billion to upgrade some our nation’s most economically significant bridges such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Brent-Spence Bridge through the Bridge Investment Program and $1.5 billion for 26 major projects through the INFRA program.  

These infrastructure improvements are a critical part of President Biden’s economic agenda to build the economy from the bottom up and middle out.

White 01/31/2023.

Hudson Tunnel Project

President Biden will announce a $292 million Mega grant to Amtrak for Hudson Yards Concrete Casing, Section 3. This funding is part of a $649 million early phase project that will complete the final section of concrete casing intended to preserve future right-of-way for the new passenger rail tunnel under the Hudson River. The concrete casing protects the path of the new tunnel from Penn Station to the Hudson River’s edge.  If this casing were not built now, the foundations from the new Hudson Yards development would likely impede the path of the tunnel and make the project extremely difficult.

The overall Hudson Tunnel Project is an over $16 billion investment that will improve resilience, reliability, and redundancy for New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) and Amtrak train service between New York and New Jersey.  The project will reduce commute times for NJ Transit riders, enhance Amtrak reliability on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), and support the northeast regional economy. Amtrak expects the Hudson Tunnel Project will result in 72,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction with union partnerships for job training. 

The existing North River Tunnel is over 100 years old, built to early 20th century standards, opened for service in 1910, and is the only passenger rail tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey. It facilitates more than 200,000 passenger trips per weekday on more than 450 Amtrak and NJ Transit trains servicing New York Penn Station. The tunnel has reached its full capacity of 24 trains per hour, causing bottlenecks and delays. The tunnel has two tubes with one track each.  When one goes out of service for any reason, trains have to wait to go through the working tube.  This creates headaches for NJ Transit commuters and Amtrak travelers and delays that cascade up and down the Northeast Corridor. In 2020, passengers experienced 12,653 minutes of delay due to problems caused by aging tunnel infrastructure. Delays occurred on 54 different days in 2020 and were attributed to a variety of causes involving the electrical power, signal and track systems.

In 2012, millions of gallons of salt water flooded into the tunnel during Superstorm Sandy. Even today, the remnants of seawater that entered the tunnel in 2012 continue to harm the concrete, steel, tracks and third rail, signaling, and electrical components within the tunnel. Today the tunnel requires regular, and occasional emergency, maintenance that disrupts service for hundreds of thousands of riders throughout the region.  Rehabilitation of the tunnel would require a full closure, which will only be possible if a second tunnel existed.

To address those challenges, the Hudson Tunnel Project will rehabilitate the old North River Tunnel; build a new tunnel beneath the Palisades, the Hudson River, and the waterfront area in Manhattan; construct new surface alignment from Secaucus to the new tunnel portal in North Bergen; construct ventilation shafts and fan plants in New Jersey and New York; and make track modifications near Penn Station. When the project is done, the redundant capacity provided by a second tunnel will mean fewer delays and less risk for catastrophic disruption.

The project is part of the larger Gateway Program which envisions expanding and rebuilding the rail line between Newark, New Jersey and New York City through a number of projects, including the new Portal North Bridge, which broke ground last year and is supported by $900 million in federal funding.

Today’s Mega grant announcement is the first of several funding announcements for the project expected this year and the most significant federal funding for the Gateway Hudson Tunnel Project to date. 

The Administration is committed to providing the billions of dollars in funding necessary to ensure that this critical project is completed. Later this year, if and when additional milestones are met by the states and other parties, a full funding agreement will be completed.

President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak, with a $66 billion investment in rail. After waiting years for new federal funding, 2023 will be a year in which major rail projects along the 450-mile Northeast Corridor between Washington, DC, and Boston, receive their first significant funding.

White 01/31/2023.

New Mega Project Grants

The Mega grant program, created by the infrastructure law, funds projects that are too large or complex for traditional funding programs. Eligible projects include highway, bridge, freight, port, passenger rail, and public transportation projects that are a part of one of the other project types.   The Mega program will invest a total of $5 billion through 2026 to help rebuild the United States’ infrastructure for the benefit of residents now and for generations to come.

Beyond the Hudson Tunnel concrete casing project, the Administration is announcing projects of regional and national economic significance that are receiving Mega grant awards including:

White 01/31/2023.
  • $250 million for the Brent Spence Bridge connecting Kentucky and Ohio, part of a total investment of $1.6 Billion from the infrastructure law to build a new companion bridge and rehab an existing bridge along a major freight corridor on I-75. Earlier this month, the President and Senate Minority Leader McConnell visited the Brent Spence Bridge to announce this funding;
  • $150 million to the Louisiana Department of Transportation for the Calcasieu River Bridge Replacement which will increase capacity on a critical stretch of Interstate 10 which is an important freight route;
  • $117 million to the Metra Commuter Railroad in Illinois to make improvements on the Metra Union Pacific-North line on a two-mile corridor from the Addison to Fullerton rail bridges, replacing approximately 11 bridges, 4 miles of track structure, and more than 1.75 miles of retaining walls along Metra’s UP-N line;
  • $110 to the North Carolina Department of Transportation to replace the Alligator River Bridge on U.S. Highway 64 with a modern high-rise fixed span bridge along the primary east-west route in northeastern North Carolina between I-95 and the Outer Banks;
  • $85 million to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for I-44 and US-75 improvements along a critical urban freight corridor near Tulsa, including vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure improvements;
  • $78 million to the City of Philadelphia to make improvements along approximately 12.3 miles of Roosevelt Boulevard, from North Broad Street to the Bucks County line including making traffic signal upgrades, constructing intersection and roadway reconfigurations, constructing median barriers and pedestrian refuge islands, making corridor access management improvements, constructing complete streets improvements for accessibility, pedestrian, and bicycle improvements, as well as installing new business access and transit lanes;
  • $60 million to the Mississippi Department of Transportation to widen I-10 in Harrison and Hancock counties along a major freight corridor of regional significance; and,
  • $30 million to the California Department of Transportation (Santa Cruz County) for the Watsonville-Cruz Multimodal Corridor Program which will construct approximately 2.5 miles of State Route 1 auxiliary lanes and a Bus on Shoulder facility between Freedom Boulevard and State Park Drive, construct approximately 1.25 miles of the New Coastal Rail Trail within Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line right-of-way, and fund the purchase of 4 new zero-emission buses.

President Biden’s announcement of the already announced projects is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. D.C., time.

When the post was posted for Monday, President Biden had not tweeted. He ended up with a Monday Tweeting Total of 10 tweets and 0 retweets.

The photo was taken during a ground breaking ceremony in Ohio on 09/09/2022. The White House used the photo @White Record to highlight the “Making More in America” tab.

Getty has more photos from the event.

The photo was taken on 11/17/2021 when President Biden visited GM’s Factory Zero. He shared the photo via tweet on 11/17/2021.

The YouTube is 22 minutes and 45 seconds long. His full remarks can be found here.

President Biden: This tunnel is nearly, as I said, 150 years old. This is Civil War era. Ulysses S. Grant was President.

President Biden: Funding from the Infrastructure Law is fully — will re- — fully replace this tunnel. And we’re naming the new tunnel after Frederick Douglass, who boarded this train to freedom right here in Baltimore.

President Biden: And the Baltimore — the Baltimore Tunnel Project will lead to 20,000 — 20,000 good-paying construction jobs: laborers, electricians, carpenters, cement masons, ironworkers, operating engineers, and so much more. These are good jobs you can raise a family on, and most don’t require a college degree, but they do require the equivalent of a college degree. You have to have four to five years of an apprenticeship. That’s one of the reasons they’re the best-trained workers in the world. The best in the world. (Applause.)

President Biden: Back in Delaware, I’m known for riding Amtrak, for being their senator all those years. And most of you know that a senator — as a senator, I rode the train between Washington and Wilmington, and back and forth, every single day that the Senate was in. And they tell me it was about an average 200- — 117 days a year, about 265 miles a day. I put over a million miles on Amtrak — not a joke — including as Vice — including as Vice President. (Applause.)

President Biden: But, folks, look, I made a thousand trips through this tunnel, so I’ve been through this tunnel a thousand times. And, you know, but when folks talk about how badly the Baltimore Tunnel needs an upgrade, you don’t need me to tell you. I’ve been there, and you’ve been there too.

President Biden: There’s a lot we’re going to get done. And one of the things about the Infrastructure Law I’m most excited about is we’re doing all this with workers, with products made in America with union labor. (Applause.)

Second Tweet for Tuesday.

From his remarks in Maryland:

President Biden: Well, guess what? Folks, too many people have been left behind in the past or treated like they’re invisible amid the epi- — economic upheaval of the past four decades. They remember. They remember the jobs that went away and wonder whether a path even exists anymore for them to succeed. But I know we can forge a path of building an economy where no one is left behind.

This is an Open Thread.

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Member of the Free Press who is politically homeless and a political junkie.