By Tom Udall Press Office
U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Pat Roberts (R-Kans.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kans.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Joe Manchin (D-W. VA.), Dick Durbin (D- Ill.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) are calling on Amtrak to continue service to rural communities in New Mexico and across the U.S. by investing in long-distance and state-supported routes.
“We are writing in strong support of Amtrak’s national network, including the long-distance and state-supported routes,” said the senators. “These routes serve small, midsize, and rural communities in our states and provide essential connections to jobs, tourism, and family that are critical to the people and places we represent. As you develop Amtrak’s plan for the long-term viability of the company, we urge you to recognize the critical importance of the entire national network, which includes the long-distance and state-supported routes. Once again, we seek your firm commitment that Amtrak will abide by its statutory purpose – maintaining a truly national network for our rail system.”
“Congress purposely created a national network of long-distance and state-supported train service throughout the nation, in recognition of the importance of a transportation system that reaches every community – regardless of how rural it may be,” said the senators. “Amtrak is more than a collection of individual train routes; it is a web of essential connections that bind our country together and link rural communities with major markets and economic opportunities.”
The letter requests responses to questions about Amtrak’s budgeting process and proposed changes to long-distance and state-supported routes that would have major implications for rural communities who rely on Amtrak service to connect them to larger economic markets and opportunities.
Udall and Heinrich, along with Moran, Roberts, Gardner, and Bennet, have led the bipartisan push to ensure Amtrak maintains train services along the established, long-distance passenger rail route of the Southwest Chief, which runs daily between Chicago and Los Angeles, connecting towns and cities across the western United States and providing train and long-distance passenger service, particularly through rural areas. In New Mexico, the Southwest Chief serves several communities, including Raton, Las Vegas, Lamy, Albuquerque, and Gallup.