Amtrak

Tom Carper of Macomb has completed his four-year term as chairman of the Amtrak Board of Directors.

Carper feels Amtrak enjoyed success during that period, though sometimes it was frustrating because the federal government has no dedicated source of funding for passenger rail service.

“So every year, we’re in the budget. So every year, people who don’t like passenger rail or whatever can take a whack at Amtrak. That’s frustrating,” Carper said.

Rich Egger

Politicians in western Illinois want to make sure those in Washington DC know support for Amtrak reaches across the aisle and across the miles.

Republican State Representatives Norine Hammond and Don Moffitt, Democratic State Senator John Sullivan, and the mayors of four western Illinois communities (Galesburg, Monmouth, Macomb, and Quincy) gathered at the Galesburg train depot to urge Congress to continue funding for passenger rail.

Rich Egger

The head of the Amtrak Board of Directors said the service has benefited from funding stability in recent years.

Chairman Tom Carper, who is a former mayor of Macomb, said it's been crucial to Amtrak's planning to have the threat of cuts removed.

“We've had stability in the last three years, and lo and behold, what's happened? We're building railroads in the Midwest,” Carper said.

He also pointed out ridership is up.

Rich Egger

Illinois will acquire new rail cars for all of the in-state Amtrak routes. Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said the new cars will address the increase in ridership experienced by the service for the past five or six years.

“They're going to be bi-level cars,” Schneider said. “It allows us to transport more passengers on the same footprint. So it makes it more efficient and it gives us opportunity to expand service without having to add train sets.”

All of the seating on current cars is on the same level.

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