March 23, 2017

Trump budget could end Amtrak in 23 states

Rural Blog - President Trump's budget calls for a 13 percent cut—$2.4 billion—to the U.S. Department of Transportation, including eliminating subsidies of Amtrak's long-distance trains, which provide the only passenger service in 23 of 46 states in which it operates, touching many rural areas, Aric Jenkins reports for Fortune. The budget document said long-distance train service long has "been inefficient and incur the vast majority of Amtrak's operating losses."

The Associated Press reports that without funding, many of the routes would probably close, because they are not profitable enough. Wick Moorman, president and CEO of Amtrak, said in a statement: "These trains connect our major regions, provide vital transportation to residents in rural communities and generate connecting passengers and revenue for our Northeast Corridor and state-supported services."

About 4.6 million passengers rode long-distance routes in fiscal 2016, Glenn Evans reports for the Longview News-Journal in northeast Texas. Amtrak said "ridership on the Texas Eagle route—which connects Chicago with San Antonio via Longview—increased 23.2 percent to 110,970 passengers from October through early January, up from 90,099 passengers a year ago.

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