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Hutch Post

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran has introduced an amendment in the Senate that would maintain Amtrak train services along the established, long-distance passenger rail route of the Southwest Chief.

According to a release from the senator’s media staff, the amendment would set aside resources for maintenance and safety improvements along the route and would compel Amtrak to fulfill its promise of matching funding for the successful TIGER IX discretionary grant supported by the Kansas Department of Transportation and local communities along the route.

It would also reverse Amtrak’s decision to substitute rail service with bus service over large segments of the route. Amtrak made the proposal earlier this spring that would have bused passengers from Dodge City to Albuquerque, New Mexico — a decision many saw as the first step in eliminating the route all together.

Five years ago, Amtrak threatened to move the Chief off the line unless states chipped in to renovate the BNSF line that only Amtrak uses. Since then, states and cities along the route secured three grants and invested large sums of money to make the needed repairs.

If all goes as planned, the amendment will receive a vote on Thursday as the Senate continues consideration of its appropriations bills, specifically the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.

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