Amtrak cuts could end service in Toledo, two points of view

By  | 

TOLEDO, Ohio (13abc Action News) - A new report shows that President Trump's budget proposal would mean the end to Amtrak trains in Ohio if it passes.

Toledo's Amtrak station and all of its counterparts in Ohio would lose their trains.

The president's proposal calls for all long-distance trains to be eliminated so Amtrak can concentrate on improving its shorter routes.

Half of the 46 states with Amtrak service would lose their trains under the proposed legislation.

It sounds like a good deal...

According to the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, more than 55,000 passengers ride Amtrak each year, or 152-people a day board a train in Toledo.

Riders like the service.

Mary Tyson doesn't like to drive. She says, "Traffic's too bad. I don't have the nerves of steel anymore."

Kattie Taylor insists, "Every time I board the train, it's full."

And it's convenient. Even though it takes more than 4-hours to get to Chicago, transportation planners say it's time well spent.

David Gedeon with TMACOG says, "If you have work to do, you can do it on the train instead of, you know, being concerned about driving. It frees up your time."

But is it economically wise to spend taxpayer dollars on a service 150-people use each day?

Amtrak only runs four lines, one departs to the east at 11:49 pm and at 3:20 am. Two lines to Chicago at 5:22 am and 6:30 am.

Doug Oliver is a professor of engineering at the University of Toledo says, "That's what happens when you subsidize inefficient systems."

He says Amtrak is a government subsidized dinosaur that has squeezed out competition and has no incentive to improve service.

Oliver says, "Why should there be a subsidy for railroads, particularly for railroads that aren't effective, aren't on time and that nobody rides."

Oliver says Amtrak works in the highly populated northeast...

But in the Midwest, he says, it's not as vital.