Promoting passenger trains as a transportation alternative in Florida since 1983.  We are citizens who advocate for Amtrak, commuter rail, intercity rail and transit for Florida's future.

Amtrak Cuts; FCRP Is Making An Impact; Contact Congress!

11 Jul 2020 7:16 AM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

The Amtrak cuts to the Silver Meteor and the Silver Star are here, but we are already fighting to bring the trains back!

Amtrak initially intended to make these cuts quietly. As soon as we found out about them, FCRP members worked diligently to spread the word so that awareness could build. 

Who did we contact?

  • Senator Marco Rubio
  • Senator Rick Scott
  • Members of Congress throughout the State of Florida
  • Governor Ron DeSantis
  • The Mayors of Tampa, Lakeland, Sebring, Orlando. Winter Park, Miami, DeLand, Hollywood, Deerfield Beach, Delray Beach, West Palm Beach, Palatka, Jacksonville, Okeechobee, Winter Haven, Kissimmee, Ft. Lauderdale, Pinellas Park, Jesup GA, Camden, SC, Denmark, SC, Columbia, SC, Hamlet, NC, Southern Pines, NC and Raleigh, NC. 
  • City Commissioners in Lakeland
  • City Council Members in Tampa
  • Chairman of the Hillsborough County Commission
  • Florida State Senator Janet Cruz
  • Union locals representing Amtrak employees, including the TCU and IAM, whose workers are fighting for their jobs
  • Florida Department of Transportation
  • Friends of Tampa Union Station
  • Rail Passengers Association
  • And many others!

These efforts are bearing fruit. As this article indicates, Congressman Darren Soto is sending a letter to Amtrak questioning the cuts. And that's just one example.

We've also been busy contacting media to help spread the word about the cuts to the Silver Star and the Silver Meteor that Amtrak wanted to keep quiet.

Together, our efforts have resulted in stories or pieces in the following publications or radio stations:

  • WUSF Radio (Tampa Bay area NPR affiliate)
  • WOCA The Source (talk radio for Ocala and Gainesville)
  • WFLA Radio (AM Tampa Bay with Jack Harris)
  • Polk News-Sun (newspaper story quoting Steve Sayles)
  • Raleigh News & Observer (newspaper story)
  • Lake Okeechobee News (newspaper story)
  • The Pilot (Southern Pines, NC; newspaper story)
  • Tampa Bay Business Journal (newspaper story with links to FCRP website)
  • Lakeland Now (news site; story)
  • The Press Sentinel (Jesup GA; newspaper story and letter to the editor)
  • 12,500+ social media mentions on Facebook and Twitter

The awareness we created also helped serve as the basis for stories in the New York Times and USA Today.

What next? Let's keep fighting. Let's not let Amtrak keep the current "temporary" schedule in place after COVID-19 subsides.

We mustn't forget that Amtrak management used the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina to curtail its New Orleans-Orlando service--which remains "temporarily suspended" to this day. 

If you have written our Senators, your member of Congress, the Governor, and your local elected officials already--please do so again!

Enough is enough! 

  • To contact Senator Marco Rubio, click here. 
  • To contact Senator Rick Scott, click here.
  • To locate and contact your Member of Congress, click here.

It will also be helpful to contact your local elected officials, Chambers of Commerce, Visitors and Convention Bureaus, and Governor Ron DeSantis

Thank you for all your efforts. Let's keep fighting until we get both the Silver Star and the Silver Meteor back to daily service. 

--Steve Sayles and Jackson McQuigg

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