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Trains at Risk in Illinois

June 24, 2015

Governor Rauner recently announced that he will cut the Amtrak Illinois budget from $42 million to $26 million effective July 1, 2015.

If implemented, at least half of Illinois-funded trains will be discontinued, starting a dangerous downward spiral. Ridership will decline more quickly than costs, forcing ticket prices higher and driving away even more passengers.

The impacts will be felt throughout the Midwest, as other trains lose connecting passengers and have to carry a higher overhead burden.

Please tell Governor Rauner to keep all Amtrak trains running.

Today, Illinois contracts with Amtrak to operate eight daily round-trip linking Chicago and three suburban stations to twenty-four downstate stations.  They provide safe, productive and affordable travel to students, tourists and business travelers.  The program is a success, ridership has grown 140% since 2005.  1.16 million passengers boarded state-supported downstate trains in 2014.  The proposed cuts would wipe out all those gains.

The Midwest is not a single economy, but a group of smaller, interdependent economies.  Our success will be determined by how well we connect these to one another and to the world.  Amtrak is vital to strengthening those links. Reduction in service would hurt business, tourism, and students.

It would be a better option for Governor Rauner and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to focus on reducing costs by taking tangible steps to increase revenue.

Download a quick overview on how Illinois Department of Transportation could grow revenue here.

Download a sample letter here.

Send Governor Rauner an email here.