Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry supports the Rail Passenger Fairness Act recently introduced by US Senator Dick Durbin. This legislation aims to provide Amtrak with a mechanism to keep freight railroads accountable by requiring them to give preference to passenger rail operating on their rail lines.
“Carbondale was recently awarded $14 million to fund construction of a new multimodal station in downtown Carbondale that will host Amtrak, among other transportation providers. In order for this project to be successful, it’s imperative that Amtrak’s on-time performance (OTP) improve,” said Mayor Henry.
Carbondale is the southern terminus of the Illini-Saluki route which currently has a 6% OTP for northbound trains and a 17% OTP for southbound trains, which is among the worst in the country. A report issued in October by the US Inspector General estimates that nearly 60% of those delays are caused by interference from freight trains.
“Our residents and SIU students need reliable service from Amtrak and without it, they will continue to look for other options to travel. Declining ridership has a negative economic impact on the city and the region that we can’t afford right now,” said Mayor Henry. He added “this isn’t a new issue and is something that I’ve discussed with all of our legislators on our past two advocacy trips to Washington, DC. I hope our legislators, Amtrak, and Canadian National can work together to find a solution that best benefits our residents.”
“Carbondale prides itself on providing its visitors, students, businesses and residents with a unique mix of edge and ease. It’s a cultural town, yet free of pretense, embracing the great outdoors as readily as urban sophistication. Here, we are open to new ideas, experiences and cultures, so you are encouraged to both express yourself and be yourself, in all ways. That’s Carbondale…All Ways Open… for family, fun, business, new ideas and a bright tomorrow.”