Why We Need Passenger Rail

Increased Safety – train travel is much safer than automobile travel and about as safe as plane travel. The more passengers that choose the rail option, the fewer motorists will die on our nation’s highways.

Most Energy-Efficient – airlines consume 20% more energy per-passenger mile than Amtrak, and automobiles consume 27% more per-passenger mile. More rail travel would lower our dependence on foreign oil.

Least Polluting – using electric and low emission diesels, and by diverting millions of high-polluting automobile and airplane trips each year, Amtrak helps to mitigate air pollution. Passenger rail investment also benefits freight rail as increased rail capacity will remove more polluting trucks from highways.

Expanded Mobility – Amtrak serves dozens of communities without commercial air or bus service. One in five Americans over 65 do not drive (expected to double over the next 20 years), and one in three Americans are afraid of flying.

Reduced Congestion – trains provide a viable alternative to over-crowded highways and airports. More than two billion gallons of fuel and millions of hours are wasted each year due to highway congestion as many highways are at or have already exceeded their capacity. Airports are reaching their maximum capacity with flights taking longer than before due to congestion.

Popular with Traveling Public – polls have repeatedly shown that large majorities of Americans would like to see more traffic going by intercity or commuter rail.

Good Return on Taxpayer Investment –Taxpayers provide only 20% of the cost of operating intercity Amtrak trains as the rest is covered by passenger fares. Amtrak provides a large direct economic impact to the communities it serves and it provides wages for 20,000 workers nationwide.

Quality of Life – trains are useful transportation choices for millions of Americans. As many mayors and city councils can attest to, the loss of Amtrak service to small communities would be devastating. People who live in areas with little/no transportation alternatives devote the most of their family budget to transportation costs.