Tester Statement on Restoration of Daily Service on Amtrak’s Empire Builder
U.S. Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement celebrating the news that Amtrak will restore daily service to the Empire Builder line across northern Montana beginning May 23:
“This announcement is long overdue, and it’s great news for folks living on the Hi-Line who depend on daily Amtrak service to support our state’s rural economies and to stay connected to family and friends. I’ve been fighting to defend Montana from attempts to cripple Amtrak service in rural America, and I have been proud to lead the fight to return full, daily service to our state, which will grow our economy along our Northern Tier.”
Today’s announcement reverses system-wide service reductions imposed in January due to COVID-driven workforce shortages.
Tester has been Montana’s leading champion to restore full, daily service to the Empire Builder. Tester’s bill reinstating furloughed Amtrak employees and rolling back previous service reductions to the Empire Builder route was signed into law as part of the American Rescue Plan in March 2020. Tester was the only member of Montana's Congressional delegation to vote for the bill. Tester personally secured a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the cuts in 2020, inviting Havre's Paul Tuss, Executive Director of Bear Paw Development Corporation, to testify about how crucial long-distance rail is to rural and frontier economies in Montana and across the country.