White House budget would hobble rural communities that depend on air and rail passengers

Apr 2, 2017

BNSF workers grind train tracks in Garden City.
Credit James M. Dobson / Garden City Telegram

Under President Trump’s proposed budget, High Plains cities that profit from air and rail  services stand to suffer.

As The Garden City Telegram reports, Trump has suggested at least $2.4 billion in funding cuts, and included in that figure are subsidies for passenger rail service and rural commercial flights. For towns that are already isolated in many ways, like Garden City and Amarillo, these cuts could hurt.

The Trump administration claimed less-than-full flights as an excuse for the cuts. But Rachelle Powell, the director of aviation at Garden City Regional Airport, pushed back against that idea, insisting that Garden City sees “daily, full flights.”

The budget would also slash funding for the legendary Southwest Chief passenger train route, which runs through Southwest Kansas and Eastern Colorado. This would be a tough loss for the Southwest Chief, after the Obama administration increased funding for the train route by almost $30 million over the past two years.