Amtrak in jeopardy under President Trump's budget

Alicia Turner
May 29, 2017

MGN Online

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The president's latest budget proposal puts a lot of items on the chopping block. One of them is Amtrak services in Florida.

It's a decision many are saying they can't get on board with.

In April of 2016, dozens gathered in south Tallahassee, rallying for Amtrak to bring its passenger service back to the Capital City.

"Being a student at FSU, or former student, and being out of state, it would be nice to have a train service," says Lauren Romanzak.

Fast forward to May 29, not only is the service still not in Tallahassee, but it could be completely eliminated from Florida.

If President Trump's budget passes, it would severely cut funds across the country.

Jim Mathews, President and CEO of the National Association of Railroad Passengers, says, "144 million Americans could lose their access to Amtrak. If this budget were to go through, 220 communities around the country would be impacted. It’s a huge blow to a lot of places, including Florida."

In Florida alone, Amtrak employs more than 700 people and carried over 230,000 customers in 2016.

"You don't look at just the number of people that come in and out on a train, you look at the trips that would not take place if that didn’t exists. Tourism is a life boat for Florida and everyone knows that," says Mathews.

Many supporters now say the next step is to speak up.

"We do not want to lose Amtrak in the state of Florida, and we'd like to see it expanded to serve the Gulf Coast," says City of Tallahassee Commissioner Scott Maddox.

"It’s important to keep funding to all of the service industries, whether it's transport, all of that stuff is important. A lot of people use Amtrak, it’s a great way to travel," says Lauren.

An experience that could soon be a thing of the past. Commissioners are saying one way you can speak up is to write a letter to Congress.

To do so, click here.

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