The Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission’s work runs the gamut, from promoting state and regional passenger rail plans and projects to influencing federal policy. See and follow the latest MIPRC news and updates here.
Saturday, March 21, 2020
MIPRC today sent a letter to Midwestern members of Congress in support of Amtrak’s request for $1 billion in emergency funding for this fiscal year – including $200 million to offset state losses – and include it in the latest COVID-19 relief/stimulus bill currently being negotiated.
“We are writing today to urgently ask you to support Amtrak’s request for $1 billion in emergency funding for this fiscal year – including $200 million to offset state losses – and include it in the stimulus bill currently being negotiated,” the letter states.
“Passenger rail is an increasingly important mode of transportation to our region. Ridership on the Midwest’s state-supported corridor services rose 14 percent over the ten years from Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2009 to FFY 2019, and ridership on the region’s long-distance trains rose five percent in the same period.”
“Now, due to the COVID-19 crisis, many of our states that financially support Amtrak routes are witnessing ridership reductions of more than 50 percent. In our region, we have had to significantly cut – and for some routes, temporarily suspend entirely – our current corridor service.” (See Amtrak’s announcement about Midwestern service cuts here.)
As the COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed all but essential travel, Amtrak’s ask is to help make up for “’unprecedented’ ridership losses, with future bookings down 80% year-over-year and cancellations up more than 400%,” according to Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari, as quoted in the Chicago Tribune.
MIPRC’s letter was sent via email on Saturday, March 21.