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Rep. Peter DeFazio, Mayor Lucy Vinis, Amtrak President Stephen Gardner Celebrate Oregon’s Amtrak Service Restoration

May 24, 2021
Press Release
As Chair of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, DeFazio Negotiated $1.7 billion for Amtrak in the American Rescue Plan

Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis, and Amtrak President Stephen Gardner today celebrated the restoration of Oregon’s Amtrak service following several pandemic-related schedule reductions in 2020.

As Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, DeFazio negotiated $1.7 billion for Amtrak in the American Rescue Plan, so service could be restored.

“The return to full service is a tremendous step forward in Oregon’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic crisis,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio. “This restoration will connect economic hubs across the region and bring more than 1,200 workers back from furlough nationwide. I’m proud to have helped negotiate the critical funding that made this service restoration possible.”

“I am thankful and excited to have Amtrak service return to Eugene,” said Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis. “Our community is grateful to have a champion for rail, transit, and multimodal investments in Peter DeFazio, who is leading the charge on a once in a lifetime investment in our nation’s infrastructure.  Having Amtrak President Gardner make the trip across the country to visit us was a special treat and we look forward to passenger rail growing stronger under the Biden Administration.’ 

“Offering daily long distance service represents a vital step in our road to recovery,” said Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn. “Recognizing the immense value of our employees, we’d like to thank Congress for enabling service restoration and helping us recall furloughed employees.

Amtrak operates two National Network services in Oregon: The Coast Starlight, connecting Los Angeles-Klamath Falls-Portland-Seattle, and The Empire Builder, connecting Portland/Seattle-Spokane-Chicago. Amtrak also operates one State-supported service in Oregon, the Cascades, which connects Eugene-Portland-Seattle-Vancouver, British Columbia.

Since last spring, the only train service connecting Eugene to Portland ran once daily at 5:30 A.M. Today marks the restoration of three daily round trips between Portland and Seattle and two daily round trips between Eugene and Portland.

With over 828,000 riders in FY19, the Amtrak Cascades is one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the country.