Amtrak numbers up

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Amtrak numbers up

Unread postby BNSF 1088 » Sat Oct 23, 2004 4:05 pm

Amtrak numbers up

By the Williston Herald
The number of passengers riding Amtrak to or from North Dakota jumped 7.7 percent in the last year

In Williston, ridership increased 2.9 percent, from 16,196 to 16,659 passengers.

In 2004, which ended Sept. 30, Amtrak ridership in North Dakota jumped to 89,319 passengers from 82,926 in 2003, Dorgan said. The Empire Builder line, which runs from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, saw an increase of 5.2 percent to more than 437,000 passengers, making it Amtrak's most popular long-distance train.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-ND, a member of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, is battling a plan to drastically reduce Amtrak's funding and jeopardize its continued operations.

"North Dakotans rely on Amtrak, and this jump in ridership shows that North Dakotans are counting on Amtrak more and more," Dorgan said.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved about $1.2 billion for Amtrak for 2005, about the same funding as in 2004. But the House Appropriations Committee has approved a $300 million cut. Amtrak officials and the Transportation Department's Inspector General have said such a level would end long-distance passenger service completely.

The full Senate will consider the funding measure in November. Then, a House-Senate conference committee will hammer out the final amount of Amtrak funding.
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