(TNS) — Amtrak announced it would add rail service to Albany and enhance service across the country after President Joe Biden revealed his infrastructure bill will award the corporation $80 billion over eight years for improvements.

Biden's American Jobs plan, which he unveiled in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, calls for massive spending on transportation, clean energy, school construction, the senior care-giving industry and research and development — paid for by corporate tax increases. The plan is Biden's strategy for helping the economy recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Democrats intend to march the bill through Congress by mid-summer and, if passed, it would unleash billions of dollars for rail improvements, as well as other transportation investments.

According to a map produced by Amtrak, the company would add new service between Albany and Boston along the existing track by 2035. It would also enhance service from Montreal to New York City, through Albany, from Albany to Rutland, Vt., and from Albany to Toronto, via Niagara Falls. Amtrak plans on enhancing service all along the Northeast corridor from Washington, D.C., to Boston. In the region, it would also add new service between Rutland and Burlington, Vt., Boston to Concord, N.H., and across Long Island. A spokesman for Amtrak declined to define exactly what "enhanced service" would entail.

Across the country, Amtrak would add up to 30 potential new routes serving 160 new communities — including Las Vegas, Nashville, Louisville, Duluth, Columbus and Scranton — by 2035.

Amtrak is also expected to complete the long-awaited Gateway Tunnel project that would carry Amtrak trains under the Hudson River in New York City and allow authorities to repair damage caused in existing tubes from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The Gateway Project could cost as much as $10 billion by some estimates. Amtrak would also rehab the East River tunnels and New York Penn Station, Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said in a statement.

Repairs and improvements by Amtrak in any part of the Northeast Corridor could help trains throughout the region, said Sean Jeans-Gail, vice president of Policy and Government Affairs at the Rail Passengers Association.

"There are a number of real physical, capital intensive projects that are lined up ready to go and need the money," Jeans-Gail said. "We would be talking about increased reliability, increased average speeds, which when you are talking about a corridor as extensive as the Northeast Corridor that means increased capacity."

The American Jobs Plan would award Amtrak for the next eight years five times the average funding funding it usually gets in a year, Jeans-Gail said. But it remains to be seen if this money would be wholly supplemental or if Congress would later respond by cutting annual funding for Amtrak, the National Passenger Railroad Corporation.

"The Northeast Corridor could absolutely absorb 90 percent of that [10 billion a year]. That will not happen because of the way the Congress generally represents the entire country," Jeans-Gail. "When you spread $10 billion across the United States of America, it spreads a little thin."

Biden's $2 trillion American Jobs Plan also includes $85 billion to modernize public transit and meet ridership demand, an investment that is also expected to benefit rail.

"I applaud the inclusion of provisions in President Biden's American Jobs Plan that target modernizing the Northeast Corridor and addressing Amtrak's repair backlog" said U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D- N.Y. "I was also happy to see the inclusion of a provision that provides a dedicated fund to support ambitious projects like the Gateway project. Investing in our passenger rail infrastructure is critical to New York's regional economy as well as our nation's long-term economic vitality."

Of course, Congress must pass the American Jobs Plan to turn any of these proposals into reality and the sweeping legislation faces significant opposition already from Republicans. Democrats may try to pass the plan without any Republican votes through a process called reconciliation.

Republicans support transportation investments, but they have already objected to the corporate tax increases that Biden proposed to pay for the plan. Others said the plan was too expensive and they objected to the climate measures included in the bill.

"Raising taxes in the middle of an economic crisis is incredibly misguided," said Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, the top Republican on the Finance Committee. "Hastily changing the tax system purely for purposes of raising revenue will bring back inversions and foreign takeovers of U.S. companies, cost jobs, shrink domestic investment and slow down wage growth, ultimately crushing ordinary workers and the middle class."

The American Jobs Plan directs about $450 billion toward road, bridge, rail and airport construction, including $174 billion to put more electric cars on the roads. Under Biden's plan, intercity rail alone would receive a 400 percent boost in funding, according to the Rail Passengers Association.

Biden is sometimes nicknamed "Amtrak Joe" because he rode the train for years from his home in Delaware to Washington, D.C., as a senator.

"The American Jobs Plan will build new rail corridors and transit lines — easing congestion, cutting pollution, slashing commute times, and opening up investment in communities that become connected to the cities, and cities to the outskirts where a lot of jobs are these days," Biden said. "You and your family could travel coast to coast without a single tank of gas onboard a high-speed train."

Even before the pandemic, Amtrak has long sought more funding to improve the bridges it crosses, straighten out tracks, upgrade train cars and implement safety technology.

But like with other forms of public transportation, rail travel has declined during the pandemic and the lack of ridership has resulted in budget crises for some rail operators. The American Rescue Plan — the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress last month — already included about $30 billion for transit grants and $970 million for Amtrak's Northeast Corridor to help.

In November, Amtrak said business was at about 25 percent of pre-COVID levels, and the corporation forecasted ridership and revenue would improve to about 37 percent of pre-COVID levels by the end of September 2021. More recent data was not available Thursday.

Rail travel in New York and the Northeast could be slow to bounce back because so much of its demand is business travel, Jeans-Gail said.

"[That's] probably going to take longer to return to pre-pandemic levels," he said. "People are really re-assessing the get on a train, spend a day in New York and then hop back... I think people are going to be hanging onto Zoom a little bit longer before they open up the business expense accounts again."

The American Rescue Plan also includes $213 billion for housing investments, $111 billion to upgrade drinking water systems, $100 billion to improve broadband coverage and $100 billion for workforce development. It also makes huge investments weatherizing buildings, investing in renewable energy research and infrastructure and encouraging purchasing of more low-emission energy and transportation options. It would allocate $400 billion to expand access to home and community-based care for seniors and the disabled and allots $137 billion to upgrade public schools, community colleges and build more child care facilities.

All this construction will be done by union workers, Biden said, who included in the package a proposal to bolster the right to organize.

Biden proposes paying for these investments over 15 years by corporate tax changes. Those include raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent, setting a global minimum corporate tax, taking steps to block off-shoring of jobs and increasing tax enforcement against companies.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D- Calif., said she hopes to pass the American Jobs Plan by July.

(c)2021 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.