October 25, 2014

Party labels aside, Americans want to ride Amtrak

UTU Membership Survey National GOTV ProgramWASHINGTON – New polling shows that Americans across the ideological spectrum support more public funding of Amtrak passenger rail service.

“We polled people who mostly do not live in large passenger rail regions and yet they overwhelmingly said they want the same level of or more federal funding for Amtrak,” said John Previsich, president of the SMART Transportation Division. “What’s interesting about this poll is that a majority of Democrats, Independents and Republicans alike all want to maintain or expand Amtrak service. It is now time for Congress to listen.”

In a poll conducted by DFM Research of St. Paul, Minn., from February to September 2013, eight districts in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri were polled and 70 percent of respondents said they support a robust federal government role in funding Amtrak. In Illinois’ 3rd District, which includes the Chicago Amtrak hub, the percentage jumped to 80 percent.

“This new polling confirms what we have always known: Americans want more, not fewer, transportation choices,” said Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD). “And while too many politicians in Washington are saber rattling about government spending, people across the nation, from conservatives to liberals, believe the federal government has a responsibility to play in supporting and funding Amtrak passenger rail service.”

Previsich added that in the weeks ahead, SMART Transportation Division activists will be working with TTD and the other rail unions to make the case for more federal funding for Amtrak as lawmakers prepare to rewrite federal passenger rail law (known as PRIIA). “This polling will boost our effort to advocate for common sense passenger rail legislation that gives Amtrak and its employees the resources they need to deliver first- class passenger rail service that Americans are clearly telling us they want.”

The full survey results can be found here.

The SMART Transportation Division represents a variety of employees in the freight and passenger rail, mass transit and airline industries throughout the United States.

The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, represents 32 member unions in the aviation, rail, transit, motor carrier, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. For more information, go to www.ttd.org or find TTD on Facebook and Twitter.