Congressman petere defazio was in eugene today holding a roundtable discussion about amtrak and how the service can be improved... however with the conversation focused on the eugene--portland corridor...there was no real talk on how to improve service south of eugene to the rest of the state.
Kezi 9 news reporet connnor mccarthy is live in studio to tell us about the future of amtraks only route that connects cities on the west coast.
Chynna-- congressman defazio and represnatives from union pacific...amtrak..the university of oregon... and even the goverenor's office all discussed how to attract more people to ride passenger trains... but one route...the coast starlight...which serves nearly half a million people a year up and down the west coast of the united states...was rarely brought up.
This train is amtrak's coast starlight& this is eugenes once a day connection to southern oregon and california by passenger rail.
The coast starlight is the only passenger train that connects seattle to los angeles on 1,300 miles of rail.
And there are some in oregon who rely on this once a day train to get around the west coast.
"there are a lot of folks that don't have the opportunity to hop in a car and drive down the i-5 corridor" steve early is a eugene resident who has take the coast starlight to see family in salinas califronia "the best thing is, is the second you get on the train, you find your seat and the train pulls off you're on vacation."
However, this train&along with other long- distance routes are on the chopping block under the trump's adminsitrations new budget proposal.
The administration argues long distance routes loose half a billion dollars annually with the coast starlight seeing a net loss of over 46 million dollars a year.
The administraion is propposing to replace these trains with buses so rural communities who rely on the once a day train like the coast starlight do not get cut off.
But early says that's not going to cut it.
"the last couple times that i have taken the train to salinas or back, it's real apparent there were folks getting on the train because their community was not easily serviced by bus service or frankly car service" at todays roundtable about amtrak& congressman peter defazio&focused on improving amtraks service by working with the railroads which amtrak lease track space from.
Though the focus was mainly on amtrak's busier cascade route between eugene and seattle&defazio says the future of the coast starlight is on his mind.
" i now chair the transportation committee i will have to okay that.
I will not be okaying the president killing the coast starlight" the coast starlight serves 42 cities in three states with 42,892 passengers leaving eugene last...and an average coach trip on the coast starlight is almost 400 miles..
Reporting live in studio connor mccarthy kezi 9