There will be an effort in Springfield to preserve state funding for Amtrak. Amtrak runs eight trains a day between Chicago and Downstate Illinois and seven to Milwaukee that are state-subsidized to the tune of $42 million. The governor’s budget proposal cuts that figure to $26 million, which would mean fewer trains. State Rep. Al Riley (D-Olympia Fields), the chairman of the House Mass Transit Committee, says lawmakers will want to keep these trains, if they can.
“There’s a dearth of resources, especially with the income tax increase sunsetting, but still, GRF (general revenue funds) is going to be close to $35 billion, so there’s a lot of room to make concessions, and again to sort of prove that some of these knee-jerk decisions in my opinion were short-sighted,” he said.
Amtrak says it is working on the numbers to show the state what it would get with the lower dollar figure.
The state boosted Amtrak funding in 2006, increasing the number of state-supported trains operated daily.