News & Reviews News Wire Amtrak releases survey showing support for passenger rail

Amtrak releases survey showing support for passenger rail

By Trains Staff | August 8, 2023

| Last updated on February 3, 2024

Majority of those polled support infrastructure investments, want more local service

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Bar graphs showing results of poll questions regarding support for a strong passenger rail system and investment in passenger safety and service
The Mellman Group

WASHINGTON — A survey commissioned by Amtrak has found strong support for spending on passenger rail service and infrastructure, with most of those responding calling for more passenger spending in their own states.

The poll conducted by the Mellman Group surveyed 1,000 registered voters. Among its results:

  • 92% support investment in passenger rail safety and service improvements, including 41% who consider it extremely important;
  • 86% believe in the importance of a strong American passenger rail system, including 31% who rate it extremely important;
  • 83% support passenger rail investments included in the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, including 58% who strongly support those investments;
  • And 81% want their state to invest in bringing more passenger rail service to their local area, including 50% who strongly support the idea.

The summary of the survey, available here, indicates these majorities exit across key demographics including age, gender, geography, and race.

“These survey results confirm Amtrak is on the right path with our commitment to deliver a new era of rail for America,” Amtrak President Roger Harris said in a press release.

16 thoughts on “Amtrak releases survey showing support for passenger rail

  1. Amtrak has blown so much money since it was created in 1971, it’s just sad, all they do is blame the freight railroads for their miss management, and poor service. Amtrak can’t give good service, sharing its trains on someone else’s tracks, that’s like inviting someone over for dinner, and the guest starts complaining about the food you serve, Instead of wasting taxpayers money on HSR (which BTY won’t work in certain parts of the country) bring in the rail experts from Japan, and Europe over to get a real take on US passenger operations, listen to them, and see what can be done to improve it.

  2. My statistics professor in college told us on the first day of class, you can make statistics prove any result you want to acheive.

  3. As always, the way the questions are framed, the conduct of the polling, and the make-up of the people sampled are the key elements. It’s also way too small in number for a national question, especially one that’s not currently a major issue in the US.

    The referenced report makes general statements but adds no important details as to the make-up of who was actually polled, where they reside, ages, etc.

    I had some experience with statistical sampling in my career. I agree with other posters that this poll was designed to elicit certain responses and its results are worthless.

  4. Jim Shigley, The National Limited can be restored without Columbus and Dayton. There is a connecting track at Crestline in the proper quadrant with power switches at both ends to the Big Four route. Crestline and Marion are both very easy drives from Columbus.

    1. Just informed the southeast connection track along with the two power switches has been removed. This would have allowed Amtrak on NS to go west on CSX at Crestline. Oh well.

  5. lets get that amtrak line going again from idaho to salt lake they keep talking about it in communities in the treasure valley of idaho

  6. So…Amtrak releases a poll which shows people support train travel. Can anyone say “Duh!!!”????

  7. Nothing important will ever happen as long as the execs of Amtrak get bonuses based on cost cutting, rather than service and ridership improvement..

  8. It’s called a “push poll” —- a poll whose methodology suggests the answer you want to get.

    Amtrak gets the best of both worlds — public support for its mission while not fulfilling its mission.

    1. So true. I imagine if the responses were somehow adverse to Amtrak’s messaging strategy, this poll would have never seen the light of day.

      One of the problems with US passenger rail strategy is almost all of the efforts to understand “the will of the people” are conducted by parties with a vested interest in the outcome, one way or another. And the general irrelevance of passenger rail outside the urban commuter context makes truly independent research difficult to fund and conduct. Which leaves policy setting and execution in the muddled state we’ve experienced for the past half a century.

  9. Nice generic poll that doesn’t mention Amtrak. Doing that would be, in the current jargon, a game-changer.

  10. Under the current management team and board of directors, expansion/improvement is a non-starter. Replace the whole motley bunch with experienced railroaders and start over again from scratch, only do it the right way. Need an example? Too much cost to the taxpayers? Well, look at the current version of Amtrak:you get what you pay for.

  11. The people have spoken. They do want passenger trains as well as expanded service and more funding for them. However Amttrak has to step up and do their part to deliver on that promise. Granted Amtrak isealing with equipment shortages as well as having to hire and train a whole new generation of younger workers to maintain and keep the trains running. But there are even now steps that Amtrak can do while waiting for new equipment and workers to come on line. Fix up and repair the present equipment and keep in service until the new trains come , and that includes any equipment that is sitting in repair shops or on storage tracks. Be also prudent and wise about what type of equipment they order and that it is reliable and not constantly breaking down or failing. Any train sitting for lengthy periods of time in shops or on storage tracks does not benefit anybody and will not make money for Amtrak. And most important hire credible experienced railroad managers and executives who really know how to run a railroad and make it pay and attract new riders and customers. and that includes getting rid of all the political apointees and hacks now running Amtrak and are clueless on what they do or don’t do. Put more emphasis on the entire nationwide rail network and less on the Northeast Corridor. People ride trains in all parts of the nation and that inclues areas where the train is their only option. The people want passenger rail service as well as new lines and expansion and with funding properly spent and managed, it can be done. If America and Amtrak need inspiration on how to achieve this goal they just have to look across the pond to Europe and Asia especially Japan and see the great job and top rate rail systems that they operate and the people of those nations have access to clean, modern trains that run on time and serve their cities and towns with good service and coverage. If Amtrak can’t do the job then let us get another operator or company who can and will do the job of giving the people of America great passenger train service and which will be part of the transportation picture and working with other forms of travel.
    Joseph C. Markfelder

  12. For a great start lets get the trains back that were lost in the cutbacks in 1979 and then continue to expand from there.

    1. I agree. It would be nice to get the ‘North Coast Hiawatha’, the ‘Floridian’, the ‘Lone Star’, and other Amtrak LD trains that were cut during the Carter Administration back in the fall of 1979. While we’re at it, it would be nice to get the ‘Pioneer’ and the ‘Desert Wind’ LD trains back as well …..

      Unfortunately, Amtrak is so broken and dysfunctional right now, I don’t see any of these trains being restored ….

    2. Plus, tracks for the National LImited, particularly in Ohio, have since been ripped up or downgraded. The same applies to the Broadway Limited.

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