www.illinois.gov

Pat Quinn, Governor

State Links Skip to Content Skip to State Links

 Government
 Business
 Employment
 Education
 Health & Safety
 Family & Home
 Visiting
 About Illinois
 Illinois.gov

Stay Informed

Your Government


Illinois Flag Honors

Inspector General


 IGNN: State/All Press Release

ILLINOIS NEWS
The State of Illinois News page provides access to the Illinois Government News Network and all state press releases.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2005

GOV. BLAGOJEVICH URGES PRES. BUSH TO REVERSE PROPOSED CUTS TO PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE
Governor calls on President to restore funding; protect service enjoyed by more than 3 million in Illinois every year

CHICAGO – In a letter to President George W. Bush, Gov. Rod Blagojevich today voiced his concern over proposed federal funding cuts for passenger rail service in the United States. The Governor’s letter is in response to provisions in the President’s proposed federal budget that dramatically increase the burden on states to keep passenger rail service up and running.

"Amtrak, our nation’s primary rail passenger carrier, is an integral part of the Midwest transportation system, and of the nation as a whole. Eliminating its operating budget would be a major blow to the families that call rural America home, both in terms of travel convenience and as a regional economic engine," wrote the Governor.

Currently, Illinois provides $12-million dollars a year of financial support to Amtrak. This money is used to maintain regular passenger rail service from Chicago to Quincy, St. Louis and Carbondale. The state also partners with Wisconsin for Chicago to Milwaukee service, which served 445,000 riders last year.

"Amtrak provides vital and affordable transportation service for many of our families, seniors on fixed incomes, our members of the armed forces, and students. More than three million people travel in or through Illinois every year on the Amtrak rail system," the Governor said.

"Passenger rail is also vital to our economy. Chicago is home to one of the busiest rail stations in the country: more than one million people boarded trains at Amtrak’s Union Station in 2003. At least two thousand people, from concession operators to cab drivers rely on Chicago’s Union Station, Amtrak’s Midwest hub, for their livelihood. Our tourism industry from Chicago to the Shawnee National Forest would also feel the blow, and families seeking low cost vacations would have one less alternative."

Governor Blagojevich is urging the Bush administration to reconsider its proposed funding cuts. If enacted, the reductions could mean:

· Ownership of Chicago’s Union Station would be in question, jeopardizing at least two-thousand jobs ranging from concession operators to taxi drivers.

· Tourism in the Chicago area and throughout the state would be negatively impacted.

· Communities where rail is the only form of public transportation would find themselves without any.

· Long-distance passenger rail service would evaporate.

· Midwest rail infrastructure would deteriorate.

"I urge you to reconsider your budget as proposed, and work with the Congress to find a mutually agreeable level of federal financial support for Amtrak that will allow passenger rail to continue. My staff and I will work with our congressional delegation, including Speaker Hastert, to see that Amtrak trains continue to run in the Midwest," the Governor wrote in closing.



###

News Categories

 State/All
 Governor's Office
 Lt. Governor's Office
 Agriculture
 Budget/Fiscal
 Business
 Children/Families
 Culture
 Disabilities
 Economic Development
 Education
 Environment
 Flag Honors
 Health/Human Services
 History
 Infrastructure
 Opportunity Returns
 Recovery
 Safety/Security
 Technology
 Tourism/Recreation
 Transportation
 Workforce/Jobs

News Resources

 Search the News
 IIS Radio News
 RSS News Feeds
 e-News Subscriptions
 Communications Office
 Privacy Statement

Features

Sign up for an e-news subscription
Copyright © 2014 State of Illinois Site Map | Illinois Privacy Info | Kids Privacy | Web Accessibility | Contact Us