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Amtrak: GOP budget would cut NC rail service

Posted September 8, 2011

— The Piedmont train, which runs daily between Raleigh and Charlotte, would reach the end of the line if Congress approves a Republican-backed budget plan, Amtrak officials said Thursday.

A proposal by a House appropriations subcommittee would prohibit using Amtrak's federal funding to operate state-supported train service. Amtrak said the idea, if approved, would eliminate about 150 weekday trains in 15 states.

"The GOP plan penalizes states that have made investments in passenger rail, some of which have contributed toward costs for nearly 40 years," Amtrak board Chairman Tom Carper said in a statement. "It kills an engine of local and regional economic growth much needed today, harms the future economic vitality of the nation and is unnecessary."

The North Carolina Department of Transportation jointly operates the Piedmont with Amtrak to provide round-trip service twice daily between Raleigh and Charlotte. The train also stops in Cary, Durham and the Piedmont Triad.

In the 2010 fiscal year, about 100,000 people rode the train, according to Amtrak.

Without the Piedmont, the only daily rail service between the cities would be the Carolinian train, which runs between Charlotte and New York.

"The Republican proposal forces an unwelcome decision on states who clearly want to preserve and expand passenger rail service," Carper said.

Under legislation passed by Congress in 2008, Amtrak is working with the 15 states to develop a plan to shift more of the operating and capital costs to the states.

42 Comments

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  • cybercat9000 Sep 9, 12:28 p.m.

    The same should be said about roads, right? No taxpayer money to roads. Let tolls pay for it.

  • dhxylem Sep 8, 7:37 p.m.

    Freight trains are Privately owned and operated and must make a profit to suvive. Our Passenger train system should be the same. Passenger transportation should not be the responsibility of the Government. If a person wants to go somewhere via the rail system they should pay enough to cover the expenses and provide profits to the private owners. If the owners do not have enough passengers willing to do that....they need to go out of business.

  • thefiredog Sep 8, 7:24 p.m.

    The truth is we need high speed rail and not just for passengers. High speed rail not just for passengers would reduce the number of heavy trucks on the highway and result in goods being distributed even faster across the country. High speed passenger rail would save in decreased travel times from city to city, good for business and tourism. We update our computers regularly, our transportation system needs an upgrade as well. Are the Republicans right about passenger rail in our country currently being a waste of money. Yes. They're wrong about it not being the long term solution.

  • 1911A1 Sep 8, 7:23 p.m.

    Trains should stop getting government money and only run where they can make money or break even.

  • cjw6105 Sep 8, 7:12 p.m.

    Why is every negative budget news reported in the media identified as "GOP"?

  • bigal02282 Sep 8, 6:46 p.m.

    The republicans don't want anyone to have anything they don't like or understand. CLean air? nope. CLean water? Nope. Clean working conditions? You gotta be kiddin me. Clean me out? You betcha. Tax me while reducing corporate taxes. Ridiculous.

  • ncguy Sep 8, 6:38 p.m.

    trains are not usefull in the suburban landscape.

  • affirmativediversity Sep 8, 6:37 p.m.

    "Does anyone really want to potentially add 100,000 more drivers a year inbetween Charlotte & Raleigh? I say give Amtrak liscense to operate high speed trains & start privatizing routes." per Phrostbite

    ---------------------

    Your argument makes absolutely no sense...400 vehicles one way or the other on the INTERSTATE between Raleigh and Charlotte is nothing...oh and that's 400 additional vehicles only if each of those 100,000 weekday Amtrak riders are always travelling unaccompanied.

  • affirmativediversity Sep 8, 6:31 p.m.

    "In the 2010 fiscal year, about 100,000 people rode the train, according to Amtrak"

    So how much did it cost the taxpayers of North Carolina for these 100,000 to ride the train from Raleigh to Charlotte?

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 8, 6:19 p.m.

    Why should highways! Keep cutting the waste!!!!
    OmegaBaby
    September 8, 2011 4:37 p.m.
    Ignore Report abuse
    It's called gas taxs, not rail road tax...

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