Fog

Political party labels aside, Americans want to ride Amtrak

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 9:59 a.m. CDT

WASHINGTON — New polling shows Americans across the ideological spectrum support more public funding of Amtrak passenger rail service.

“We polled people who mostly do not live in large passenger rail regions, and yet they overwhelmingly said they want the same level of or more federal funding for Amtrak,” said John Previsich, president of the SMART-Transportation Division. “What’s interesting about this poll is that a majority of Democrats, Independents and Republicans alike all want to maintain or expand Amtrak service. It is now time for Congress to listen.”

In a poll conducted by DFM Research of St. Paul, Minn., from February to September 2013, eight districts in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri were polled and 70 percent of respondents said they support a robust federal government role in funding Amtrak. And in Illinois’ 3rd District, which includes the Chicago Amtrak hub, the percentage jumped to 80 percent.

“This new polling confirms what we have always known: Americans want more, not fewer, transportation choices,” said Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD). “And while too many politicians in Washington are saber rattling about government spending, people across the nation, from conservatives to liberals, believe the federal government has a responsibility to play in supporting and funding Amtrak passenger rail service.”

Previsich added, in the weeks ahead, SMART-Transportation Division activists will be working with TTD and the other rail unions to make the case for more federal funding for Amtrak as lawmakers prepare to rewrite federal passenger rail law (known as PRIIA).

“This polling will boost our effort to advocate for common sense passenger rail legislation that gives Amtrak and its employees the resources they need to deliver first-class passenger rail service that Americans are clearly telling us they want,” he said.

The full survey results can be found at www.utu.org.

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SMART-TD represents conductors, switchmen, engineers, airline pilots and bus drivers throughout the United States and Canada and prior to merging with the Sheet Metal Workers International Association was known as the United Transportation Union.

The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, represents 32 member unions in the aviation, rail, transit, motor carrier, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. Go to www.ttd.org or find TTD on Facebook and Twitter.

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