Trump budget to cut rail services to hundreds of rural communities


Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts could lead to 220 US cities across 23 states losing out on all of their passenger train services, according to a new study.

The analysis from the National Association of Rail Passengers (NARP) concluded that cuts to the infrastructure budget, would cut off Amtrak, transit, and commuter rail programs, and even air service to some rural towns.

This would not only cost construction and manufacturing jobs, but place a disproportionate amount of pain on rural and working class communities, it said.

As a result it estimated that 220 cities in 23 states will have no passenger rail transport as a result.

If Mr Trump’s budget proposals are approved, all funding would be cut for Amtrak, the country’s only national passenger rail service.

The cuts are part of a proposed 13 per cent, or $2.4bn (£1.9bn), reduction in the Department of Transportation budget.

Cuts of a further $2.3bn (£1.85bn) to the Federal Transit Administration’s capital investment programme that helps communities start commuter rail projects, have also been suggested.

NARP President Jim Mathews said the move is “ironic” given Mr Trump’s repeated promises of renewing the infrastructure sector on the campaign trail, including jobs for those to work on new projects.

Many of the communities that could be affected are in rural areas which voted for Mr Trump in the presidential election. The Us leader won nearly 70 per cent of the rural vote in 2016.

Mr Mathews said that the proposed elimination of  Amtrak’s long distance trains was “cutting a vital service that connects these small town economies to the rest of the US.”

He added: “These hard working, small town Americans don’t have airports or Uber to turn to; they depend on these trains.”

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao also put a halt a massive California project to improve their commuter rail system that would have created an estimate 9,600 jobs in the state.

Mr Matthews said that when voters in these 220 communities voted for Mr Trump they expected his $1 trillion infrastructure plan, set to be announced in full in May, would include public transportation projects to “revitalise” their communities.

“This budget does exactly the opposite,” he sai