President Trump's proposed budget would impact Amtrak routes in QCA

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GALESBURG, Ill. (KWQC) - President Trump's budget plan proposes $54 billion in cuts, including federal subsidies to Amtrak and support for Amtrak's long-distance routes. These cuts would impact several stations throughout Illinois, including Princeton, Kewanee and Galesburg.

Kevin Cerar, the owner of The Packinghouse Dining Company in Galesburg says Amtrak is a huge benefit for their local economy.

People riding the train stop and sometimes have to wait several hours before getting on another. While they wait, they pass the time by spending money in the community.

That was the story for Joan and Loy VanZant on Monday, as they headed back home to Missouri after spending some time in California.

"This was kind of on our bucket list, I guess you would say, and we wanted to do it now, because we were afraid they might take the trains off which would be a big mistake," Joan VanZant said.

The two say they choose Amtrak for their travels over driving themselves.

"We're getting older and it's just, it's such a hassle to drive anymore so this fit us real well," Joan VanZant said.

The Associated Press along with the White House budget proposal say the long-distance lines are not profitable for Amtrak.

But the VanZant's hope the trains stay.

"It would be a disaster to the United States if they cut these trains off," Joan VanZant said. "It really would," her husband, Loy added.

They're not the only one's who feel this way.

"A lot of people stop and a lot of times they're on an extended stop so they need somewhere to go so I mean that's good for the Galesburg area economy, so it's huge, it's huge," Cerar said.

The Packinghouse Dining Company is right next to the train tracks. Cerar says businesses like theirs would take a hit if these Amtrak routes went away.

"I personally think it would be a mistake, not just on my end, but you know what about the people," Cerar said.

If the budget passes as proposed, the cuts would also impact Princeton and Kewanee; two Illinois cities in the Quad City area where long-distance Amtrak routes stop.

The proposed budget would push Amtrak to restructure and focus its resources on transportation within regions, instead of long-distance routes.