Area Amtrak passengers react to potential cuts in funding

Amtrack service to Hastings could be in jeopardy if a new budget is approved (NTV News)

According to a 2016 Amtrak report, 55,157 boarding’s occurred in Nebraska.

President Donald Trump is proposing a budget plan that could change transportation services here in our state.

Rebecca Nash is a Denver resident who takes the Amtrak train and boards at the Hastings station. Nash said it's an easy way to go when you have to travel long distance especially being from Denver and having family in Hastings.

"And it makes more sense to get on the Amtrak at 7 o clock at night and get here in the middle of the night and have lots of time to spend with my family before I turn around and go back,” Nash said.

Trump’s budget proposal could affect funding for transportation infrastructure and long distance service including the California zephyr.

"I think Amtrak is necessary. It should be improved, expanded and not done away with,” Nash said.

Below is a statement from Amtrak President & CEO Wick Moorman:

"Today’s budget proposal to eliminate funding for Amtrak’s long distance service could impact many of the 500 communities we serve. Amtrak operates 15 long-distance trains across the nation and these routes offer the only Amtrak service in 23 of the 46 states we serve. These trains connect our major regions, provide vital transportation to residents in rural communities and generate connecting passengers and revenue for our Northeast Corridor and State-Supported services. Amtrak is very focused on running efficiently - we covered 94 percent of our total network operating costs through ticket sales and other revenues in FY16 - but these services all require Federal investment.

As the budget process progresses, we look forward to working with President Trump, Secretary Chao, and Congress to ensure they understand the value of Amtrak’s long distance trains and what these proposed cuts would mean to this important part of the nation’s transportation system."

Congressman Adrian Smith said putting forth a budget is part of the process but disagrees with the Amtrak part of it.

"Well I think the passenger rail service is very beneficial and it’s something communities around Nebraska. I would say certainly appreciated and I think folks beyond communities have used this service,” Smith said.

Smith said it is important to have this debate. He said it’s up to the state to make a convincing argument to why this is so important to have this service. With this he said no future plans have been made since this is just a proposal.

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