ast Tuesday, it was a privilege to be able to send Congress the GROW AMERICA transportation bill, our comprehensive plan to create millions of good new jobs building the transportation system America will need to remain competitive in today's economy. And it was an honor to cap the day by addressing the National Association of Rail Passengers (NARP) annual citizen advocacy event, "NARP Day on the Hill."
NARP members know as well I do that America will be home to 100 million more people by 2050, so we need to make sure we give people as many transportation options as possible -- including rail.
That's why I sent GROW AMERICA to Congress to tackle these problems. It will increase the level of Federal investment in our rail system--including intercity passenger rail--and put rail on par with other surface transportation modes, all without adding to the budget deficit.
To achieve a high-performance rail system, the bill will increase federal rail investment to unprecedented levels: $19 billion over the next four years.
This bill will fully fund Amtrak, working toward a state of good repair for our existing passenger rail network while also strengthening connections between key city pairs by investing in new high-performance passenger rail corridors.
But it will do even more than that. It will provide American rail with a predictable, dedicated funding source--just like the trust fund that has provided stability to our highways and transit systems for decades. That way, states, regions, cities, and communities have the policy and funding certainty they need to move forward.
The demand for rail has been growing dramatically for years. More people are coming into train stations every day. Last year, Amtrak carried nearly 32 million riders, setting its tenth ridership record in 11 years. And this surge in popularity is not centered in one part of the country, but in more than 500 communities across America.
GROW AMERICA can make improvements throughout Amtrak's network that will help us balance the on-time needs of travelers with freight's increasing role in moving our economy.
A clear vision and predictable funding are essential to ensure that rail continues its record-breaking safety performance and becomes an even safer, higher-performing mode of transportation. The GROW AMERICA Act provides the new investments we need to strengthen America's rail network.