Business State & National News

Trump budget eliminates Amtrak, crushes dream of Pensacola route

May 23, 2017

U.S. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and his staff have reviewed the budget proposed by President Donald Trump. It apparently eliminates all Amtrak Services in Florida, which was used by over 950,000 riders during the last fiscal year.

“This just doesn’t make sense,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). “Eliminating Amtrak service in Florida not only affects the nearly one million Floridians who ride the train each year, it would have a real impact on our tourism-driven economy by making it harder for folks to come visit our state.”

The proposal cuts funding for Amtrak’s long-distance routes, which includes all three routes in Florida. It would also stymie ongoing efforts to restore service in Florida’s Panhandle and along the Gulf Coast.

The president’s budget would eliminate all three routes in Florida, including:

· The Auto train, which runs daily from Lorton, VA to Sanford, FL;
· The Silver Meteor, which runs daily from Miami to Orlando to New York; and
· The Silver Star, which runs daily from Miami to Tampa to Orlando to New York.

Last year, Mayor Ashton Hayward and the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce held a rally for Amtrak in hopes of resurrecting Amtrak’s passenger train service in Pensacola that had been dormant since 2004. Read more.

Oh well, nice try.

You Might Also Like

  • Dale Parker May 24, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    I SUPPORT any elimination of budget dollars at this point. We have perfectly able people siphoning off precious resources for the poor, we have programs that do not work, we have institutions that have seen their day and now should be eliminated and that responsibility go to the state where it is already duplicated. There are billions and billions of pet nonsense spending and we cannot afford this any longer. SO if Amtrack never comes to Pensacola so be it, we lived this long without it and won’t miss it. What I will miss are the tax dollars taken out of my check for crap.

  • Moose May 24, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Every single article out right now about this Amtrak budget cut is severely limited on facts. The headlines are all laden with the impending disaster it will create and at least one story about a few people whose lives will be effected. It would be nice to know:

    Cost per individual, not per trip
    Cost per state compared to the number of individual riders
    Cumulative Federal spending per individual over the past 5, 10 and 20 years

    Without any of these facts, the story is completely emotion/nostalgia-based reasoning. Sure, taking a train ride is different and fun, but is it worth the cost considering we have to give up other necessary social services.

  • Christian Wagley May 24, 2017 at 10:05 am

    The huge issue that most of us never consider in these debates about transportation is that our nation’s network of roads is heavily-subsidized and the majority of funding does not come from users. We don’t think about it because it is mostly hidden in government budgets rather than at the more visible cost of a ticket as is the case for Amtrak. Far, far more money goes to subsidizing roads than to Amtrak or any other transportation system. If we applied the same standard to our roads as we do to Amtrak, there would be a huge call to end the massive subsidies and to make roads pay for themselves. A report in 2015 broke this down to show that “Landing on the moon was still a wild dream the last time gas taxes and other car-related fees paid nearly the full cost of building and maintaining roads. By the 1970s, road taxes still accounted for about 70 percent of road costs…. Any vestige of a strong user fee died in the 2000s on account of peak driving rates, better fuel efficiency, soaring construction costs, and a gas tax held flat in the face of inflation.” (https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2015/05/debunking-the-myth-that-only-drivers-pay-for-roads/393134/)

    At a 2012 hearing before the House Transportation Committee, Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman testified that: “In the past four years, the federal government has appropriated $53.3 billion from the general fund of the Treasury to bail out the Highway Trust Fund. That’s almost 30 percent more than the total federal expenditure on Amtrak since 1971.”(http://usa.streetsblog.org/2012/09/21/reminder-amtrak-subsidies-pale-in-comparison-to-highway-subsidies/)

  • Doug Underhill May 24, 2017 at 7:42 am

    We are Trillions in debt because we try to force things the market is not asking for. We cannot keep paying for things that don’t work. Amtrak is the federal version of our ECAT: big fancy expensive busses riding around nearly empty. We need to stop wasting taxpayer money.

  • Julia May 23, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    The President’s budget will not become the final budget. It is the President’s ask, but the final budget will be proposed and passed by our legislative bodies. Finally, appropriations must be approved before funds can be spent next fiscal year, beginning October 1, 2017. And in recent years, come October 1st everything is still up in the air.

  • C. C. Elebash May 23, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    This report omits important information: Amtrak makes money on service in densely populated areas, like in the northeast U.S. but loses money elsewhere. The losses exceed the profits and taxpayers make up the difference.

    The proposed service to Northwest Florida will probably come through in the middle of the night like it did before. Very few people will use it because buses and private automobiles (using the Interstate) are cheaper and more convenient.