Resolutions Seeking Expanded Amtrak Service

Public officials in states are pushing for an expansion of Amtrak service.

The Commissioners in Bexas County, Texas, approved a resolution asking Amtrak to seek funding to operate its New Orleans-Los Angeles Sunset Limited on a daily schedule.

Trains 1 and 2 now operate tri-weekly and Texas passenger train advocates contend that ridership would triple if the Sunset Limited operated daily.

In Montana, the Missoula County Commissions will launch a campaign to talk with other counties about supporting an effort to lobby to reinstate the North Coast Hiawatha from Seattle to at least Helena, Montana.

The campaign will seek to build support to create an entity within the state that can accept federal grants and other help to get the train launched.

“This is something I’ve been interested in and involved with for more than a decade,” said Commission Chairman David Strohmaier.

“There’s been several efforts to get this going through legislation on the state and federal level, but those efforts never made it too far. It became a dead issue. Rather than repeat what’s been tried in the past, I want to examine what the county can do to push this idea forward.”

A 2010 study of reviving the North Coast Hiawatha found that it would require $28 million in capital and $159 million to operate the service.

The North Coast Hiawatha operated between Chicago and Seattle through early October 1979, generally following the former Northern Pacific mainline west of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

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