Illinois State Universities Annuitants Association VP: State should not cut Amtrak funding

June 30, 2015

I am concerned about the steep cuts proposed to Amtrak passenger rail service. Gov. Rauner proposed cutting the Amtrak state subsidy by 40 percent in his budget address this spring. The budget lawmakers approved kept Amtrak funding steady. However, the governor has vetoed that budget and he has once again threatened funding cuts.

Amtrak is a vital lifeline for many campuses. At a legislative hearing a few weeks ago, university leaders and mayors talked about the importance of train service to and from Chicago through communities such as Bloomington-Normal.

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz pointed to the more than $165 million in private investment made around the Amtrak station that serves Bloomington-Normal, rightly noting that eliminating routes and times would not be simple to undo and would have long-term consequences. Students facing higher costs or less convenient options to get to and from campus may very well choose to go elsewhere or to transfer. The economic impact of the money they wouldn’t spend would likely be noticed by local businesses.

 

Read association Vice President Larry Alferink’s full letter at PANTAGRAPH.COM by clicking here.

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