President Biden Unveils Massive Rail Project, and ‘Good Jobs,’ in Baltimore
By Stacy M. Brown | NNPA Newswire
(NNPA) – During a trip to Baltimore on Monday, Jan. 30, President Joe Biden announced plans to replace the 150-year-old Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel, which is a key part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
The White House said the project would solve the Northeast Corridor’s major rail bottleneck between Washington, DC and New Jersey, create “good-paying union jobs,” improve reliability, reduce commute times, and improve safety and resilience.
The program is expected to create 30,000 jobs, including 20,000 direct jobs in construction, most of which do not require a college degree.
President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill invests $66 billion in passenger transportation, the largest investment in passenger transportation since Amtrak’s inception.
Amtrak has also agreed to invest more than $50 million in local workforce development and community investments, including apprenticeship programs, to ensure West Baltimore residents have access to these jobs.
In addition, the White House announced that Maryland and Amtrak have signed a project launch agreement that includes a $450 million commitment from the state transportation agency for the tunnel replacement project.
It also includes a project labor agreement signed by Amtrak and the Baltimore-DC Building and Construction Trades Council, a local affiliate of the Building Trades Unions of North America (NABTU).
This is expected to cover the first phase of the project and ensure that well paying union jobs are created.
In addition, Amtrak and NABTU have an agreement that ensures that Amtrak’s major civil engineering projects are conducted under union agreements.
These agreements deal with wages, benefits, working conditions, the avoidance of work stoppages and the promotion of diversity and the hiring of experienced workers in the construction industry.
According to the White House, with the agreement, Amtrak and NABTU will have no work-related delays in planning and awarding major projects; Contractors and subcontractors share Amtrak’s commitment to fair wages and benefits; and Amtrak and NABTU will be able to advance bipartisan infrastructure law funded projects with efficient work management relationships.