Illinois Mayors, Colleges Say Proposed Amtrak Cuts Painful

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois university officials and mayors say Amtrak rail service reductions that would follow proposed cuts in next year’s state budget will hurt businesses and impact students.

Amtrak officials said Tuesday during an Illinois Senate Higher Education committee meeting that service changes will be expensive to restore even if the state’s fiscal situation improves after next year.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed a 40 percent decrease in state funding for the publicly-funded rail service. Amtrak officials say reductions to service across the state likely are unavoidable if the rail line’s current $42 million Illinois state contribution is cut by $16 million to $26 million.

The Illinois Department of Transportation and Amtrak officials have yet to negotiate which routes would be affected if the cuts are approved.