Truckee leaders rally support for continued Amtrak service
March 14, 2018
A massive reduction in the proposed 2019 federal budget for Amtrak National Network funding has spurred the Town of Truckee to lobby for continued rail service in the region.
The Town Council unanimously approved a proposal to submit letters in support of continued federal funding for Amtrak. The proposal was endorsed at a council meeting on Tuesday.
The move authorized Vice Mayor David Tirman to send letters to U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, and Rep. Tom McClintock in support of the rail service.
"An important element of our community is Amtrak service, which is under threat from the White House arguing that communities like ours are not worth the investment and that towns and states should shoulder more of the financial burden of keeping routes in service," Tirman stated in a letter to each of the federal office holders.
“This discussion of eliminating ‘unprofitable’ Amtrak routes is occurring while the nation’s transportation infrastructure is deteriorating ...”
— Vice Mayor David Tirman
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"This discussion of eliminating 'unprofitable' Amtrak routes is occurring while the nation's transportation infrastructure is deteriorating and the nation is struggling to reach a consensus on how to address a decades-long pattern of underinvestment in our infrastructure."
The potential for eliminating those routes, including the California Zephyr service that runs through Truckee, stems from a White House proposal to slash federal Amtrak National Network funding to $738 million from $1.4 billion in the 2019 federal budget cycle.
The Rail Passengers Association, which recently contacted the Town of Truckee, requested support for Amtrak services.
The group said if collective states don't fund the difference then Amtrak would be forced to cut service. That would affect more than 200 communities, most of which are rural, and more than 140 million passengers.
Locally, in Truckee, the end of the California Zephyr route would mean nearly 15,000 passenger arrivals and departures from the Truckee Train Depot in downtown would have to use other means of transportation.
Additionally, if all passengers had to use a personal vehicle that would equate to adding 6,000 vehicles to local roadways each year, according to town estimates. The California Zephyr extends from Chicago to the Bay Area.
Managing Editor Wyatt Haupt Jr. can be reached at 530-550-2652 or via email at email@example.com.