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South Bend and Elkhart could lose Amtrak services in 2018

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -

Lobbyists in Washington are fighting to protect Michiana Amtrak stations.

The National Association of Rail Passengers and Amtrak say big changes could be on the way for travelers.

President Trump’s 2018 budget plan would cut federal support for long distance train services.

Amtrak says if that happens, 220 stations nationwide, including South Bend and Elkhart, will shut down, leaving Chicago as the closest station within route.

The Michigan City station along with Niles, New Buffalo and St. Joseph would stay operational, as they are on a different route.

The White House documents say, “The Budget terminates Federal support for Amtrak’s long distance train services, which have long been inefficient and incur the vast majority of Amtrak’s operating losses.”

However, the president and CEO of Amtrak, Wick Moorman, says the long distance routes are efficient.

His statement, released in March, in reaction to the budget says:

“Today’s budget proposal to eliminate funding for Amtrak’s long distance service could impact many of the 500 communities we serve.  Amtrak operates 15 long-distance trains across the nation and these routes offer the only Amtrak service in 23 of the 46 states we serve.  These trains connect our major regions, provide vital transportation to residents in rural communities and generate connecting passengers and revenue for our Northeast Corridor and State-Supported services.  Amtrak is very focused on running efficiently  - we covered 94 percent of our total network operating costs through ticket sales and other revenues in FY16 – but these services all require Federal investment.

As the budget process progresses, we look forward to working with President Trump, Secretary Chao, and Congress to ensure they understand the value of Amtrak’s long distance trains and what these proposed cuts would mean to this important part of the nation’s transportation system.”

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