Two daily Amtrak trains in Southern Illinois could be eliminated if Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget cuts for the upcoming fiscal year are passed.
That's according to the Midwest High Speed Rail Association, which is sounding the alarm on the potential impact of Rauner's proposed 40 percent reduction in Amtrak funding.
In a news release, the association notes:
According to testimony at the House Appropriations Public Safety Committee hearing in Springfield, under the 'worst-case scenario', these cuts would result in the cancellation of Southern Illinois' two state-funded daily trains: the Illini and the Saluki. In this case, only one, federally-funded train would serve the Chicago-Carbondale route each day.
In Western Illinois, the Carl Sandburg and the Illinois Zephyr could be cut as well. Ending these services would mean no more Amtrak in Quincy and Macomb, and reduced frequencies along the rest of the route.
Midwest High Speed Rail Association Executive Director Richard Harnish said the proposed budget cuts "would be devastating and are unacceptable."
"Amtrak ridership has increased by a third in the past seven years, and killing this well-used transportation choice would isolate millions of Illinois residents," Harnish said, adding that "It is critical people speak up now to save the trains they depend on while the General Assembly considers these cuts."