White House Budget Will Kill Amtrak Service
June 7, 2017
Rail Passengers Launch "Rally for Trains" Campaign
For Immediate Release (#17-12)
Contact: Xenophon Strategies – (202) 289-4001
Washington, D.C. - This summer's travel season may be the last with passenger trains for millions of Americans. The Trump Administration's proposed budget wipes out funding for long distance train service in over 220 cities and towns and in 23 states that will lose train service completely.
In response to the budget, Jim Mathews, President and CEO of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP), announced the launch of a "Rally For Trains" campaign to protest the devastation of America's passenger train network. Passengers are already planning rallies at train stations across the country on Friday, June 23 in more than 20 cities including: Alexandria, VA; Birmingham, AL; Charlottesville, VA; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland, OH; Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; Martinsburg, WV; Meridian, MS; Miami, FL; New Orleans, LA; Portland, OR; Richmond, VA; Sacramento, CA; San Luis Obispo, CA; Toledo, OH; Washington, DC; Wilmington, DE and Whitefish, MT.
"If Congress enacts this budget, our national passenger rail network will largely cease to exist," said Mathews. "Communities and rail passengers need to clearly and loudly tell Congress that our communities and citizens rely on trains as important travel options."
The proposed 2018 White House budget would slash funding for Amtrak, leaving 140 million Americans without access. Other cuts to transit and commuter rail programs will cost thousands of construction and manufacturing jobs, especially in small town America. Budget cuts will place a disproportionate amount of pain on rural and working class communities who rely on rail and public transit services for everyday travel.
Although the threatened services are commonly called long-distance trains, they also serve as local and regional transportation for the communities they serve. In Montana and North Dakota, for example, Amtrak's long distance trains connect nineteen towns and cities on a single corridor. In Florida, twenty eight communities are bound together by long distance routes that offer an important travel option for family and business travelers.
"Millions of people will be left isolated, and those who will suffer the most are those who rely on passenger rail to get to their job, for an ADA-compliant mode of travel, and for people where other transportation options are limited," said NARP Chairman Peter LeCody. "The voices of these people must be heard by members of Congress, and we plan to make that possible during our 'Rally For Trains.'"
For more information on "Rally For Trains" events, or to contact members of Congress, visit www.TownsWithoutTrains.com.
About the National Association of Railroad Passengers
NARP is the only national organization speaking for the nearly 40 million users of passenger trains and rail transit. We have worked since 1967 to expand the quality and quantity of passenger rail in the U.S. Our mission is to work towards a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. Our work is supported by more than 28,000 individual members nationwide.
"It is an honor to be recognized by the Rail Passengers Association for my efforts to strengthen and expand America’s passenger rail. Golden spikes were once used by railroads to mark the completion of important rail projects, so I am truly grateful to receive the Golden Spike Award as a way to mark the end of a career that I’ve spent fighting to invest in our country’s rail system. As Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, it has been my priority to bolster funding for Amtrak, increase and expand routes, look to the future by supporting high-speed projects, and improve safety, culminating in $66 billion in new funding in the Bipartisan infrastructure Law."
Representative Peter DeFazio (OR-04)
March 30, 2022, on receiving the Association's Golden Spike Award for his years of dedication and commitment to passenger rail.