April 7, 2020
Derrick James, Senior Manager of Government Affairs in Chicago sent All Aboard Minnesota a letter from Richard Anderson recognizing our work to voice support for Amtrak during these times, and Congress including $1B for Amtrak in the stimulus relief bill. We are truly grateful for the recognition of our work. Here is Derrick's note to us and you can read the letter from Richard Anderson, click on the pdf link below.
In these challenging times, please accept this note of thanks from Amtrak for All Aboard Minnesota’s help conveying the importance of Amtrak to members of the Minnesota and Wisconsin Congressional delegations.
Take care and stay safe,
Amtrak Government Affairs
March 23, 2020
Tell Congress to Save Amtrak and Public Transportation. As millions follow directions from public health professionals and stay home from work and school, public transportation and Amtrak ridership are plummeting. Combined with increased costs for additional cleaning and with the economy quickly coming to a halt, transit is facing an economic apocalypse—unless Congress decides to make it a priority in their proposed economic stimulus. The time is short—please send a message now to your representatives to include funding for public transportation and Amtrak in any relief or stimulus package(form is provided by our partner Environmental Law and Policy Center). https://p2a.co/f4uDGWw
In need of $1 billion, Amtrak cuts management pay as it faces ‘unprecedented’ ridership loss. In need of about $1 billion in supplemental funding to battle an “unprecedented” drop in ridership, Amtrak has now taken “aggressive" steps to cut the pay of top staff and other measures, the company confirmed Saturday. Daily ridership is down 90% systemwide while future bookings are down 85% year-over-year, according to Amtrak. “Amtrak and our state partners estimate we need approximately $1billion in supplemental funding through the remainder of the year to make up for the unprecedented loss of ridership and revenue and to minimize employee and service impacts,” an Amtrak spokesperson said in a statement.
December 30, 2019
Thank you to all of our members, friends, supporters, alliance organizations, donors, and followers this year! All of you have helped to spread the word about how more passenger rail service in Minnesota can hugely benefit citizens of this state.
This next legislative session will be a bonding bill year for the state, and we have a good opportunity to educate legislators and get some bonding bill money for passenger rail service! There have already been bills introduced in the House and Senate:
1. HF 1804/SF1975, which would provide $4M for the MnDOT Phase II and Final Design work for the Second Twin Cities to Chicago train out of the general fund.
2. HF 1493/SF1866 which would provide $15M for the entire MnDOT State Rail Plan out of bonding funds.
Contact your legislators now about these bills and voice your support!
We will be hosting a Rally at the State Capitol on March 11 ( more information is on our Events page ) to educate legislators about how more passenger rail service can provide economic, mobility, and environmental benefits for Minnesotans as part of a balanced transportation system. Join us!
Thank you all for a great 2019, and we look forward to working with you in 2020 to get more rail passenger service!
November 4, 2019
We have a chance to make a real difference!
Funding for the second Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago train could be included in the Governor’s bonding bill if he receives input from Minnesotans. This would be a huge win and could really propel this service to reality!
To provide a second train frequency, $10 million in state funding (a small drop in the bucket) is needed to match a federal grant application to upgrade the railroad allowing for more passenger train service in Minnesota. Wisconsin will request funding from their legislature, and we need to work together!
Provide your opinion before Nov. 30.
Fill in your name, email, and zip code.
Select “Ramsey County” under Q4, Local entity requesting funding
Select “Ramsey County – Twin Cities Milwaukee Chicago Second Train”
Fill out the last three questions and click submit.
It takes about a minute to do this! Please do this today!
(From the Minnesota Management and Budget website) Earlier this year, local governments submitted more than 200 requests for investment in their communities, totaling more than $1.3 billion, for consideration during the 2020 Legislative session. We want your input! Fill out the online form to comment on local government investment projects up for consideration in the 2020 capital budget (bonding) bill. Governor Walz will review this information with Minnesota Management and Budget staff as they develop his capital budget proposal which will be submitted to the Legislature in January 2020. The public comment period will be open through Nov. 30.
November 2, 2019
On Wednesday Oct 30 All Aboard Minnesota conducted two public meetings in Fargo/Moorhead to educate and advocate for daytime rail service between there and the Twin Cities. We conducted an afternoon forum for business, civic, government and other community leaders and out of the 100 we invited, 42 showed up! Showing great interest, these community leaders asked a number of questions and there was definite support for this service. AAMN presented what the service could look like, along with the economic and mobility benefits the new service could offer the area.
The evening public forum was also very well attended, with an estimated crowd of 85. Support was also very enthusiastic while some were disappointed about how long it would take to implement the service. Frank Lotterlie from the MnDOT State Rail Office was also on hand to answer questions.
We felt like the word is getting out for what more rail service can offer and momentum is building. Press coverage was good, with interviews by WDAY, and KVRR TV stations, along with the Fargo Forum which ran this article; https://www.inforum.com/business/transportation/4747474-A-passenger-train-that-doesnt-leave-Fargo-Moorhead-in-the-middle-of-the-night-Residents-show-their-support
October 15, 2019
Taking the title from Alfred Hitchcock's movie "North by Northwest", here is a good human interest article about riding the Empire Builder. Why on earth would anyone ride this train end to end when you can fly so much faster? This article explains why the experience alone is worth it! Well worth reading, enjoy!
August 12, 2019
Andrew Sheldon recently published a great article in Railway Age about why Amtrak's new business model won't work. As we are becoming aware, Amtrak wants to focus on short haul "city pairs" routes, largely paid for by the states, and the North East Corridor, to the detriment and perhaps elimination of the long distance trains. All Aboard Minnesota is very supportive of short haul routes, such as the establishment of the 2nd train frequency between the Twin Cities and Chicago, and this trains hopeful extension beyond the Twin Cities to the Fargo/Moorhead area. We are in fact holding a public forum in Fargo/Moorhead on Oct 30 to educate the public on the mobility, economic, and environmental benefits this additional rail service will offer. But we will adamately oppose any service reduction or elimination to the long distance trains, espcially the Empire Builder.
Here is a link to Andy's excellent article, well worth your time: https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/intercity/deciphering-the-amtrak-puzzle/?fbclid=IwAR2yX2v_DvdWG7scV8tNWAAu9bvQcis90kgLkrYScwP0stcp_8Vq-blNLbY
August 7, 2019
An article was published in Crain's New York Business magazine about the business model that Amtrak wants to move towards. Thisnew business model focuses on of course, the North East Corridor, and short "city pairs" of 400 miles or less, basically state supported corridor services. In this article long distance trains are citied as losing money, and need to be "remade" while the NEC makes a profit, which is absolutely not true. Bottom line, for rail advocates, we could have a real fight on our hands to save the long distance trains like the Empire Builder. Fortunately, in the US Congress there appears to be bi-partisan support for a national network. Here is a link to that artice (be prepared, we may need to call on you to call your US House Rep and our two Senators to save the long distance trains!)https://outline.com/jNNJ7k
June 24, 2019
It has very recently come to our attention that Amtrak is not filling ticket agent positions at St. Paul Union Depot, which is causing staffing shortages. This past Saturday, June 22 in fact, there were no ticket agents at all on duty in the evening. This obviously is concerning, and not serving the public well especially at a major city station like St. Paul - Minneapolis in the busy summer travel months. All Aboard Minnesota has contacted our US Senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar to alert them of this situation, our concerns about this, and to ask for their support in opposing Amtrak ticket agent cuts across the system. We urge you to call Minnesota's US Senators and voice your conerns over this issue. If can happen once, it can happen again, and we will monitor this situation. Thanks to all of our members and friends for your support!
April 21, 2019
Very good article published by Railway Age about Richard Anderson's very flawed and mis-statements about how the NEC is "profitable" and the long distance trains lose money, and there for should be truncated or eliminated. The article reference's George Chilson's excellent white paper on Amtrak's deficient accounting methods that seek to create this illusion. Very much worth a read, here is the link; https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/repeat-actions-dont-produce-different-outcomes/?fbclid=IwAR1OYAi4qH_l4NcYwGw8CH_C2cklJCFpqMF7RJ4rdx8t2MviErH_uGRbwso