WASHINGTON — The Rail Passengers Association released new research showing that Amtrak’s plan to reduce service on its long-distance routes — a vital transportation link to the 40% of the nation’s small and rural communities that it serves — will cost Floridians $278 million annually, driven by a loss of roughly 595 thousand passengers.
Earlier this month, representatives from the Rail Passenger Association testified before Congress that Amtrak’s impending cuts in service to America’s Heartland will be devastating across at least 30 states, dropping a $2 billion bomb on “Flyover Country.”
The Rail Passengers Association has done additional work to model the economic damage that could result in Florida. Further analysis is needed, but our first pass suggests that Amtrak’s 3x service plan would cost Florida’s economy $278.4 million annually, driven by a loss of roughly 594,948 passengers. That includes $112.7 million in direct losses (visitor spending, highway maintenance issues, car crashes and so forth) plus another $165.7 million in indirect losses, which accounts for job losses and economic disruption in those sectors supported by this travel (lodging, travel, shopping, the effect of job losses on the tax base, etc.).
Rail Passengers is asking Americans to contact their elected officials and demand that Congress provide financial relief for passenger rail and transit in the next round of coronavirus stimulus.
“We’ve already seen airports and air service receive $14 billion in this week’s one-year extension of transportation law and airline CEOs are asking for another $28 billion in stimulus, but nothing for rail,” said Jim Mathews, Rail Passengers President & CEO. “Congress must provide Amtrak relief funds and include protections for passengers, Amtrak-served communities and Amtrak workers.”
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