Charlottesville Amtrak passengers rally against Trump budget cuts to rail

Residents of all ages were on hand to call for continued funding of train service in Virginia and across the country at the Charlottesville Rally4Trains. (© NBC29)

A crowd gathered outside the Charlottesville Amtrak station Friday to oppose President Trump’s proposal to cut all federal funding for Amtrak’s national network of trains. The move would leave more than 220 communities and more than 40 million people across the country with no rail service. In Charlottesville, more than 50 thousand passengers would feel the loss.

Cutting Amtrak will also result in an increase in driving, leading to greater carbon emissions. “Transportation is the number one source of carbon pollution in Virginia,” Senior Attorney Trip Pollard said, addressing the crowd. “Rail is one of the cleanest, most efficient, and climate-friendly forms of transportation. Per passenger mile, it uses about a third less energy than driving and produces about a third less CO2 emissions.”

If Trump’s budget is approved, 23 states would lose all passenger rail service. Charlottesville would lose Amtrak’s Crescent and Cardinal lines, which make up two-thirds of its trains.

David Toscano, Charlottesville’s representative in the Virginia House of Delegates, told the crowd, “We are going to have to turn up the heat.” Toscano promised to draft a letter opposing the loss of service in the state and encouraged all delegates in Virginia to sign on.

Another rally is planned at Richmond’s Main Street Station on Wednesday, June 28th.

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