Cuts in Amtrak, tourism funding would hit home locally in Galesburg, Illinois

August 20, 2015

Cuts in Amtrak funding could resonate in a loss of tourism to the area, local officials said Tuesday.

 

GALESBURG — Cuts in Amtrak funding could resonate in a loss of tourism to the area, local officials said Tuesday.

City and county officials discussed the impact of proposed cuts to Amtrak in the Tourism Council’s monthly meeting.

Tourism and Marketing Director Bill Morris urged those in attendance to reach out to Gov. Bruce Rauner and state Rep. Don Moffitt, R-Gilson, to protect Amtrak funding. Lawmakers are currently at a stalemate over the state budget as Democratic leaders and the Republican governor have not reached an agreement.

However, Morris pointed out that Amtrak funding doesn’t come from the general fund of the state budget, where a good chunk of the disagreement between the governor and Democrats lies.

“The $42 million that was spent on Amtrak came out of the road fund,” Morris said. “That’s a great place for it because the roads benefit from people not driving on them. If they’re taking the train, there is no wear and tear on the road. It does add life to the roads.”

Despite its placement in the road fund, Amtrak funding could still be in trouble and indications point to the western part of the state as potential routes to pull, Morris calling the region “forgottonia,” or the forgotten part of the state

The move is not unprecedented in Springfield. To plug the deficit this spring for the last fiscal year’s budget the state transferred money from the road fund to the general fund.

Galesburg is part of 30 different routes, 14 of which run from Chicago to Milwaukee, Morris said.

Reporter Marty Hobe has the full story in The Register-Mail by clicking here.

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