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Illinois Legislator Concerned About State Amtrak Funding

T.J. Carson
The city of Galesburg broke ground on improvements to the Galesburg Amtrak Depot last November. It is a stop on the Illinois Zephyr.

State Representative Don Moffitt (R-Gilson) wants to find ways to keep an Amtrak line chugging along through his district.  He said service could be cut on the Illinois Zephyr line as part of Governor Bruce Rauner's proposed 40% reduction in funding for in-state Amtrak lines.

The Illinois Zephyr runs between Quincy and Chicago with stops that include Macomb and Galesburg.

Moffitt said he will encourage ways of making the line self-sustaining to lessen the impact of cuts.

“We need to look at promoting higher ridership, try to see if we can increase ridership, and the more we fill up those trains, the closer they come to being self-supporting,” Moffitt said.

Moffitt said fare hikes could also be considered.

The National Association of Railroad Passengers estimated 211,600 passengers rode the Illinois Zephyr last year. That is down from an estimated 224,000 passengers in 2013.

Moffitt said Macomb and Galesburg would be especially hard hit by a cut in service.

“Amtrak service helps recruit students to Knox College, to Western Illinois University, (and) other institutions on down to Quincy.”