Amtrak Line Restoration Would Generate $ 271 Million Annually

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According to a restoration plan drafted by the Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority, a regional rail authority in Montana, restoring daily Amtrak service on the North Coast Hiawatha line would potentially generate $ 271 million per year in economic benefits for the seven states served by line.

“With some of the best ridership on long-haul roads in the country and projected economic benefits of over $ 270 million per year between Chicago and Seattle, this route would be economically and socially transformative for urban, rural and tribal communities. Montana and throughout the Great Northwest Region, ”said Dave Strohmaier, chairman of the authority.

The restored line would cost Amtrak about $ 68 million a year to operate, according to the authority.

Once the line is fully operational, up to 426,000 passengers could take it each year, according to a research note from the Rail Passengers Association. This includes up to 29,000 new passengers who would not travel at all if the train did not exist.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill debated in Congress would allow the US Department of Transportation to assess all options for restoring service on multiple disrupted long-distance routes.

Big Sky asked the Rail Passengers Association to re-examine a 2009 restoration study prepared by Amtrak and assess the magnitude of the economic benefits of restored passenger service.

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