Thanks to President Biden’s landmark bipartisan infrastructure law, Scranton is moving forward with the historic restoration of train servicing connecting our region to New York City.

This move will be a boon for our region’s economy, delivering an estimated $87 million a year in economic impact. As important, it will better connect Northeast Pennsylvania to the New York metropolitan area.

As the cost of living increases in New York and northern New Jersey, more families have moved to the region, enjoying our beautiful open spaces, cultural opportunities and more affordable cost of living.

While these new families help revitalize Scranton and other regional towns, they have been forced to contend with draining, multihour commutes to access employment centers closer to New York City. This traffic causes congestion on our highways and dissuades other families and businesses from locating here — all while negatively impacting our air quality.

While Scranton has seen vast improvements in air quality in recent years, it still contends with high levels of particle pollution caused by traffic. Pollution spikes can exacerbate asthma and worsen heart disease and are particularly dangerous for the elderly, young children and those with preexisting conditions.

A new Amtrak connection between Scranton and New York City will help address all these problems, improving air quality by reducing congestion. At the same time, the federal investment needed to rehabilitate and rebuild regional train tracks and bridges will create family-sustaining union jobs.

If successful, this plan will restore service that was eliminated in 1970 — just a year before Amtrak was founded. And while advocates in Northeast Pennsylvania have fought to restore train service for decades, it has taken transformative, bipartisan investments from the federal government to get us this far.

Yet restoring a train connection to New York City is just one part of a broad, 21st-century climate and transit vision we promote in Scranton.

Thanks to other federal investments in the infrastructure law, our city government has leased a fleet of 10 municipal Chevrolet Volts for code enforcement professionals, as well as charging stations. These vehicles won’t just reduce air pollution, they’ll save taxpayers money on gas and send an important signal to residents and businesses that Scranton is proudly positioned on the forefront of green innovation.

At the same time, the charging stations will be accessible to residents and visitors during the day, helping to build a network that will be necessary for large-scale adoption of clean electric vehicles across the nation. Our goal is to be among America’s first electric vehicle cities, honoring our proud heritage at the forefront of American innovation and ingenuity.

Improved transit access is just one of the ways Biden’s ambitious climate change agenda helps move Scranton forward.

The bipartisan infrastructure law works in concert with the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides tax credits to make electric vehicles affordable to working families while helping families looking to transition to more efficient appliances and heat pumps. These investments will help fight climate change and save families money.

The Inflation Reduction Act also provides incentives for firms to locate the next generation of clean energy manufacturing in communities like Scranton, which have historically been powered by coal and are in transition toward the next generation of manufacturing.

While federal leadership has been essential to getting us this far, we need to work with our partners at every level of government right down to City Hall to take advantage of these opportunities and ensure that the investments under these two pieces of legislation create the maximum benefit for families of Northeast Pennsylvania.

This is an exciting time in our region. We’re growing and we’re going to make sure our city is a leader in ushering in this green transition for the health and economic prosperity of our families for generations to come.