Amtrak’s long-distance routes will not change anytime soon

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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Amtrak’s long-term routes will remain intact through FY 2019.
Amtrak

Amtrak’s long-distance service is not going to change, for now. However, the passenger carrier’s Board of Directors also will not be altered. 

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran is concerned about the the status of the Chicago-to-Los Angles route, called the Southwest Chief. Amtrak President and CEO Richard Anderson said on May 30 the Chicago-to-L.A. line will be active through FY 2019, which ends on Sept. 30, and could stay alive through the enactment period of the FAST Act, which will end after FY 2020.

A May 22 meeting between Moran and Anderson was a step in the right direction, but Moran is stalling President Trump’s nominations to the Amtrak Board of Directors until he gets answers to some of his questions. 

Amtrak is experiencing a record-setting year in terms of fiscal performance, but Anderson did say alterations to the carrier’s long-distance service will be considered. 

“We must position ourselves to attract a new generation of customers,” Anderson said in a statement. “Just as other modes of transportation and businesses are compelled to evolve, so must we if our mode is to grow as a relevant and efficient means of mass transportation. 

Anderson did add that more than half of Amtrak’s federal appropriations went toward long-distance routes. 

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