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Amtrak Director: Train Reduction "Unavoidable" If Budget's Cut

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

The former chairman of Amtrak told Illinois lawmakers Wednesday that service cuts are inevitable should Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed 40 percent funding cut takes effect.

Fifty-six Amtrak trains run daily in Illinois. They run from Chicago to St. Louis, to Carbondale, to Quincy and up to Milwaukee, and more travelers are riding them.

Amtrak's former chairman Thomas Carper says he can't say how many, or which of those routes will be dropped.

But he says that will happen if Illinois doesn't come through with about $42 million.

"It will hurt ... it'll change the service from something that can be used by business and has more of an economic impact back to the way it was for 30, 35 years - an excursion train. And those are really hard decisions," Carper said.

Amtrak just raised ticket prices; Carper says there's no way an additional fare hike would make up for Rauner's planned cuts.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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