Sep 08, 2020 10:53 AM

Moran: Still committed to Amtrak service, but COVID-19 makes it difficult

Posted Sep 08, 2020 10:53 AM
Photo courtesy Amtrak
Photo courtesy Amtrak

Kansas U.S. Senator Jerry Moran admits that COVID-19 has made it tough to tell the future on anything, but it is still his intent to see passenger rail remain alive through Kansas and westward.

"I'm an advocate for Amtrak generally and the Southwest Chief in particular," Moran said. "I also know a group of Kansans who are working hard to see if there can be an additional line that goes south to Texas. We want to be helpful to those who enjoy and appreciate Amtrak and make sure its available for long distance."

Moran has done everything he can do to be sure leadership is committed to the Southwest Chief.

"I've held up the nominations of three or four, now maybe five or six members of the Amtrak board, until they, in writing, commit to me to be advocates for the Southwest Chief and long distance passenger service. All but one has made that commitment and that other one has not yet been confirmed as a result of our hold."

He also had a recent conversation with the Amtrak CEO, William J. Flynn.

"Meeting, in this case, meant by phone," Moran said. "He assured me that once the reduction in the demand for passenger service that has occurred as a result of COVID-19, the pandemic, resolves itself, that Amtrak would be up to running its trains at its regular schedule, more days per week than what they're doing at the moment, as soon as COVID consequences are diminished."

The route is due to drop to three days a week next month, at least through the winter.