Urban Fold

End of the Line Looms for Short Amtrak Routes

In 19 states across America, "small-town mayors, state budget hawks and fans of passenger rail" are debating whether to subsidize passenger rail service or see it disappear thanks to a 2008 Congressional mandate. States have until Oct. 1 to pony up.
James Tuttle / Wikimedia Commons

In 2008, Congress passed the Passenger Rail Investment & Improvement Act, which reduced federal funding for Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles outside the busy Northeast Corridor, requiring states to subsidize such routes to keep them operating. Five years later, 19 states are facing a tough decision on whether to end what in some places is a 100+ year legacy of passenger rail service.

"Supporters say passenger-rail service helps boost local economies, and that daily service is essential to keeping trains a viable alternative to airplanes and cars," writes Josh Mitchell. "But critics say the short routes waste tax dollars on a small number of passengers, money they say would be better spent on things like fixing roads and upgrading schools."

Full Story: States Face Decision Day on Saving Trains

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