September 24, 2020 - TRA Newswire - Washington, DC—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 percent of the nation’s small and rural communities that it serves—will cost Texans $256 million, annually, driven by a loss of roughly 196 thousand passengers.
Earlier this month, Rail Passengers 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.”
Rail Passengers has done additional work to model the economic damage that could result in Texas. Further analysis is needed, but our first pass suggests that Amtrak's 3x service plan would cost Texas’ economy $256.4 million annually, driven by a loss of roughly 196,283 passengers. That includes $103.8 million in direct losses (visitor spending, highway maintenance issues, car crashes and so forth) plus another $152.6 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.).
The pending cuts in October would affect 4 of the 7 trains each week on the Texas Eagle service. Texas-based Amtrak employees are expected to be furloughed, the exact number is not yet known. Besides employees, other companies that provide service will feel the pinch. The train is refueled in Fort Worth and San Antonio and that means the companies that provide the service will be affected. Rental car services and food services at Fort Worth Central Station would expect to see a drop in revenue. With fewer trains it means fewer tourists arriving at every Amtrak station in Texas and that can affect a host of other hospitality providers.
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.”
For more details, see the full list of states Rail Passengers has analyzed and Mathews’ full testimony.
About Rail Passengers Association The Rail Passengers Association is the oldest and largest national organization serving as a voice for the more than 40 million rail passengers in the U.S.