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Amtrak: Train Reduction "Unavoidable" If Illinois Funding Is Cut

May 14, 2015

Amtrak Board of Directors member Tom Carper told Illinois lawmakers service cuts are inevitable should Governor Bruce Rauner's proposed 40% funding cut take effect.

56 Amtrak trains run daily in Illinois. They run from Chicago to St. Louis, to Carbondale, to Quincy, and up to Milwaukee. Amtrak has said ridership is up on those lines.

Carper said he does not know how many, or which, of those routes will be dropped if the budget cuts go through.

But he said service will be reduced if Illinois doesn't come through with about $42 million.

"It will hurt. It'll change the service from something that can be used by business and has more of an economic impact back to the way it was for 30, 35 years - an excursion train. And those are really hard decisions," Carper said.

Amtrak just raised ticket prices. Carper said there is no way an additional fare hike would make up for Rauner's planned cuts.

Carper is a former chair of the Amtrak board and a former mayor of Macomb.