Friday, May 29, 2015

University communities decry proposed Amtrak reductions - KURT ERICKSON - Herald and Review

Southern Illinois University officials also say Amtrak provides an important link for students and employees, with two state-supported trains running between Chicago and the Carbondale campus in addition to the federally funded "City of New Orleans" train. "It's a very important recruiting tool. The proposed cut would be very hurtful and very harmful," said John Charles, executive director for governmental and public affairs at SIU. The outcry comes in response to Rauner's budget proposal, which would reduce state funding for Amtrak to $26 million, down from its current $42 million annually. The 40 percent reduction will mean fewer state-subsidized trains operating between Chicago and Springifeld, St. Louis, Quincy, Champaign and Carbondale at a time when ridership has been on the rise. Neither Amtrak or the state has identified which trains might be eliminated in the fiscal year beginning July 1.

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