Trump Budget Screws Rail Passengers.

“Two hundred billion over ten years for our deteriorating infrastructure.” 

Remember that? It was the big promise back during the 2016 campaign. And passenger rail was going to get a big part of that. Only one thing wrong.

It was bullshit.

The White House has just released a budget that cuts almost half a billion dollars from Amtrak,  eliminates the long distance trains, and replaces many of the corridor trains with bus service.

There are other cuts here and there, but the bottom line is that Trump has lopped almost $6 billion off of transportation projects, many of which had already been approved.

Furthermore, the language is quite explicit in asking Congress to end Amtrak’s long-distance network by allocating “$550 million in transitional grants as States and Amtrak begin the process to restructure the network and States prepare to incrementally take financial responsibility for the newly created State-supported routes … “

What’s most frustrating is the Trump people claiming that their budget will reduce the federal deficit when, in fact, they have simply handed off responsibility for dealing with important transportation issues to the states.

In a newsletter published for its members, the Rail Passengers Association says that “isn’t the same as solving the problem—it’s avoiding taking responsibility for the problem.”

On a more positive note, Rail Passengers President and CEO Jim Mathews offers some reassurance:  “Fortunately, we’ve seen Congress ignore these misguided White House proposals for nrail and transit for the past two years, and we will continue to advocate for real solutions to building a better national rail network.”