Rauner budget could mean fewer Amtrak trains

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Gov. Bruce Rauner.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed state budget would cut 40 percent from Illinois’ funding for Amtrak trains during a time when ridership has been climbing.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/1zvFJ3w ) passenger numbers and ticket revenues have grown during the past five years. The Lincoln Service train between St. Louis and Chicago, for example, saw more than 633,000 passengers during the most recent federal fiscal year. That’s a 25 percent increase from five years earlier.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the rail system doesn’t believe Rauner’s budgeted $26 million for Amtrak is enough to “maintain the current level of service.”

Frequency of passenger trainswill depend on the final funding approved by the Legislature. The state pays 85 percent of Amtrak costs in Illinois, with ticket revenues paying 15 percent.