Sequester May Revive ‘Amtrak Joe’ Biden
(WASHINGTON) — Coming soon, “Amtrak Joe” may be riding the rails once again.
At a meeting in Washington Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden told the nation’s attorneys general there was one good thing about the sequester’s $85 billion budget cuts going into effect Friday. Instead of taking a plane for trips to his home in Delaware, Biden plans to take his transportation of choice — the train.
“The Secret Service doesn’t like me traveling back and forth to Delaware on the train. They concluded it gives too many opportunities for people to interact with me in a way they wouldn’t like to see them interacting. And so they fly me back and forth,” Biden said, reminiscing about the nearly 8,000 times he traveled back-and-forth between Delaware and Washington by train as a senator. “And so the only thing that’s allowed me to get back on the train — now I was able to say, ‘Look, guys, I’ve got to take the train now. It’s cheaper than flying.’ So I get to take the train again.”
A round-trip ticket from Washington, D.C. to Biden’s home in Wilmington, Del., on the Acela line this weekend would cost $97 in coach or $142 in business class. But Biden, who rode the train for 30 years, probably still has some frequent rider miles stacked up.
Trains would replace Biden’s trips on Air Force Two. The latest estimate of the cost for the president’s larger plane, Air Force One, was $180,000 per hour.
President Obama, responding to criticism of his use of Air Force One this summer, has said he doesn’t get to choose how he and his family travel.
The Secret Service declined to comment on Biden’s new travel plans, saying they don’t discuss the methods or means by which the vice president travels.
On the campaign trail last year, Biden often reminded audiences of his love for locomotives.
“Whoever set this up hit a soft spot in my heart,” Biden said at a stop at the National Railroad Museum. ”I’m the biggest railroad guy you’ve ever known.”
“I have traveled roundtrip from Wilmington, Del., to Washington, D.C., a 250-mile round trip, over 7,900 times, man. I am a railroad guy.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio