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Train Advocates to Protest Proposed Budget Cuts To Rail Service

via flickr.com/photos/diannbayes/ (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Beginning today, railroad advocates in nearly 30 cities across the U.S. are holding rallies to protest the potential loss of funding to Amtrak, as outlined in the budget proposed by the White House. The budget would affect travelers in more than 20 states.

The “Rally for Trains” demonstrations happening around the country today and tomorrow come in response to the federal budget proposed by the Trump administration. As it stands, the Department of Transportation’s budget would be cut by nearly 13%, eliminating all federal subsidies for long-distance Amtrak routes. It would mean the end of service to more than 220 cities and towns across 23 states – including much of Texas.

Advocates say they rely on Amtrak as a safe and affordable travel option. In Alpine, the train links riders to key amenities in the region. The closest airport and VA hospital are three hours away in El Paso. And with 30 percent of long distance train passengers traveling for tourism, the train station is also seen as an important contributor to the local economy.

According to the National Association of Railroad Passengers – the group behind the rallies – the Alpine station serves about 5,000 people each year.

Carlos Morales is Marfa Public Radio's News Director.