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February 12, 2020

Members Are Speaking Up Loud And Clear About Amtrak Cuts...Are You One Of Them?

by Jim Mathews / President & CEO

This week the Administration told 140 million Americans in 220 cities and towns around the United States that they don't deseve passenger rail service, and we asked you help us fight back in Congress with a response.

Well...respond, you did!

In just 24 hours, our members generated more than 2,000 individual messages to 294 House offices and 94 Senate offices! That's the way to stand up for a Connected America! And it's still coming, with dozens each hour. My message to all of you is: KEEP IT UP! If you haven't yet used our Rail Passengers Voter Voice tool to reach out to your elected officials, click here to do it now. We've made it incredibly simple for you to make your voice heard, and every one of our tens of thousands of members nationwide should do this. It will take you no more than five minutes...so please use our tool to send your message right now.

Let's be clear: this Administration has proposed wiping out long-distance service and the National Network in each of the past three years. And now they're doing it again. With your help and support, we have been able to build a strong, bipartisan congressional coalition united in its opposition to gutting the National Network. From the Southwest Chief to restoring service on the U.S. Gulf Coast, congressional representatives and Senators have worked closely with the Rail Passengers team to hold firm against these kinds of cuts and we need to do it again for a fourth year in a row.

I chatted yesterday with a couple of members who told me that they didn't think we needed to respond so forcefully. After all, their argument goes, presidential budgets are always dead-on-arrival and Congress has supported our trains solidly for the past three years. Well, yes, that's true, Congress has supported our trains with overwhelming majorities, but that's a very recent development. That support has come from the hard work of the Rail Passengers D.C. policy team in House and Senate offices making the economic-benefits case for passenger rail, and doing it with the strength and support of our thousands of members all around the country. When you send your messages to Congress, it drives home the reality that the voters back home want passenger trains. Our job is to amplify your message in those offices, and the more messages you send, the stronger our team in D.C. becomes.

Only last week, we saw the power of grassroots voices when the Mobile city council voted to go ahead with a long-awaited effort to bring passenger rail back to the Gulf Coast. I said then that the difference really comes from showing up and making your voices heard. Well, now it's time to do the same thing on a national stage. So far in the past 24 hours, our members have sent a resounding message of support to Congress, and it's vital that you keep on doing it!

With the surface transportation reauthorization taking place this summer, we have a real opportunity to lock protections for the National Network into law, protecting long-distance service from further attacks. Our reauthorization blueprint, put together by the D.C. policy team with input from many members, has been available since September and we've been doing our best to promote these ideas to key leaders in the House and Senate. These messages are working and we have the ear of the leadership. The next phase in this campaign has to come from all of you. Use our Rail Passengers Voter Voice tool to be part of the process right now! Let's get to 10,000 messages by the end of next week!