President Biden will hitch a ride aboard his beloved Amtrak on Friday to attend the railroad’s 50th anniversary celebration in Philadelphia, and to promote his infrastructure plan, in what ranks among the least surprising scheduling announcements of his presidency.
As a senator, Mr. Biden commuted between his home in Wilmington, Del., and Union Station in Washington, D.C., nearly every day Congress was in session. He also took the train, from time to time, as vice president, to the surprise of commuters alerted by a coterie of tense Secret Service agents who never seemed sure the trip was a good idea.
It will be the first ride on Amtrak for Mr. Biden since taking office.
It is not an entirely sentimental journey for the president, who was born in Scranton, Pa., and headquartered his campaign within walking distance of Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, where the anniversary event will take place.
Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will be crisscrossing the country following Wednesday’s speech before a joint session of Congress, and the Amtrak trip is intended, in part, to deflect criticism that his $2.3 trillion proposal includes too many social services programs unrelated to the traditional road-rail-and-sewer definition of infrastructure.
The stops will be part of what White House officials are calling the “Getting America Back on Track Tour,” which will start on Thursday, with Mr. Biden in Georgia and Ms. Harris in Baltimore, and continue next week.
A White House official said Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris — along with their spouses and, next week, cabinet members — would use the public events to promote the administration’s early record on the economy and the pandemic. They will emphasize that the nation hit 200 million coronavirus vaccine shots in Mr. Biden’s first 100 days.
Mr. Biden, Ms. Harris and others are pushing Congress to pass the American Jobs Plan, which the president announced in Pittsburgh last month, and his American Families Plan, which he is set to describe before his speech this week.
Amtrak has long defined Mr. Biden’s regular-guy political style and served as his primary means of transport from the earliest days of the railroad in the 1970s, when he traveled back home every night to care for his two young sons, Hunter and Beau, whom he was raising alone following the death of his wife, Neilia, in a car crash.
Mr. Biden has estimated that he has taken more than 8,200 round trips on Amtrak in the last half century, covering more than two million miles.