Republican Voters Say YES to Amtrak. But Will Republicans in Congress Listen?
It’s no secret that Republicans in Congress, egged on by conservative pundits like Michael Barone and libertarian “think tanks” like the Cato Institute, have been critical of Amtrak for years. Their hot button is the annual subsidy Amtrak gets from the federal government. (They’re agin it.)
Among transportation experts, however, it’s accepted as a certainty that eliminating the subsidy – which is miserly to begin with – would soon result in the death of Amtrak as we know it. The NortheastCorridor trains, running between Washington and Boston through New York, would likely survive, but the long-distance trains would be gone without question.
But wait! Here’s a bit of news that could very well change some of those Congressional minds: the results from a recent poll show very clearly that Republican voters like Amtrak!
In fact, almost two-thirds of all voters – mind you, these are voters from red districts in red states – favored continuing the federal support of Amtrak. Moreover, pared down to only registered Republicans, 51 percent of those folks supported Amtrak’s subsidy, while less than a third were opposed.
This is significant, because politicians of both parties constantly have their antennae out for indications of how their constituents feel about a variety of issues. And they vote accordingly.
So now we know: American voters, Republicans as well as Democrats, like trains. Who knows? Maybe that knowledge will help sway a few more Republican votes in Congress.