State, federal passenger rail funding debate

Posted on April 12, 2017

By: Chris Rogers, Winona Post

When it comes to government funding, things are not looking good for passenger rail in Minnesota. While Amtrak ridership in Minnesota is up, both federal funding for the train’s operation and state funding for a project to offer more frequent service through Winona may be eliminated this year. Local politicians are both decrying passenger rail initiatives as wasteful government spending and urging citizens to support rail funding.

Trump proposes cutting Amtrak subsidies

In its 2018 budget plan, President Donald Trump’s administration proposed cutting federal subsidies for long-distance Amtrak routes, such as the Empire Builder. The rough plan does not specify exactly how or by how much Trump would cut subsidies for Amtrak, but in the plan, the Trump administration argues that long-distance trains like the Empire Builder account for most of Amtrak’s operating losses and that cutting subsidies for those trains “would allow Amtrak to focus on better managing” more cost-efficient, more heavily used train corridors…

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