© 2023 WGLT
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Koos: Cuts to Long-Distance Routes Threaten Amtrak

Train in Uptown Normal
Proposed cuts to long-distance routes threaten Amtrak.

The biggest threat to Amtrak passenger rail service is probably a proposal in Congress to eliminate long-distance routes, according to Normal’s mayor.

Mayor Chris Koos, who serves on the Amtrak Passenger Rail Task Force, recently attended the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Speaking during GLT's Sound Ideas, Koos said without the long-haul routes Amtrak would be a shadow of its former service.

“If you see a before-and-after picture of the network of passenger rail with the long-haul routes, and without the long-haul routes, there are just 4 or 5 little corridors in the United States that would be served by passenger rail,” said Koos.

Koos said 80 percent of people who use the long-haul routes are not there for the entire stretch; they use it for shorter distances.

The cuts were part of President Trump’s proposed budget earlier this year. Amtrak is a regular target of budget-cutters who believe government should not be involved in passenger rail.

Uptown Normal is home to one of the busiest Amtrak stations in the country, Uptown Station.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.