HUDSON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Local rail advocates held a rally in Hudson on Thursday to urge local lawmakers to oppose cuts to Amtrak funding proposed by the House Appropriations Committee.

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With multiple Amtrak incidents over the past few months, members of the Empire Rail Passenger Association gathering today to urge local lawmakers to oppose cuts to prevent the agency from going further off track.

“Trains are responsible for getting so many people to their jobs, to college, to their healthcare appointments, this is what we’ve come to rely on Amtrak for” said State Assemblywoman Didi Barrett.

The association rallied at Hudson, the 3rd busiest Amtrak station in New York State to dispute the 2024 fiscal budget that would reduce Amtrak funding nearly two thirds to $1.6 Billion.

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Speaking of busyness, the association fears congressional cuts will reduce service from 11 trains to 5 or 6 per day. A problem officials say will exacerbate riders’ inability to purchase tickets because trains are at capacity. 

“The Empire Corridor needs some more equipment in order to serve more passengers. The demand is there” said Gary Prophet the President of Empire State Passengers Association.

from Rhinecliff Hudson to Albany, every single train on every single Sunday in the summer is sold out because we don’t have enough equipment”.

Figures released by the association show that Amtrak service steadily rose pre-pandemic, then rose again after 2020. But service isn’t the only cut they fear, it’s jobs as well. 

“Here’s the reality of what that means. 20 million passengers nationwide see their service cut. 10,000 Amtrak employees furloughed after we spent the last three years trying to rebuild the workforce after the pandemic” said Jim Mathews, President/CEO of real passengers association.

So if you don’t take the trains, why should you care? They say trains keep cars off the road. With less gridlock, it’s easy for downstate residents to come upstate and spend some cash. Money they say is four to seven times greater than investments in rail.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the FY24 THUD Appropriations bill in mid-September.