Tester meets with Amtrak CEO in Havre, shows off Empire Builder

Train system brings ‘jobs and opportunity to Montana,’ senator says

(HAVRE, Mont.) – Saying Amtrak brings “jobs and economic opportunity to Montana,” Senator Jon Tester today met with the CEO of Amtrak to show off the benefits of the passenger train service across the Treasure State.

Tester is member of the influential Senate Appropriations Committee, which oversees funding for Amtrak. Standing next to the Amtrak’s Empire Builder train in Havre, Tester added he will always fight to keep Amtrak fully funded in Montana.

“I’ll say it till I’m blue in the face: Amtrak service should never be cut or limited in Montana,”  Tester said.  “These days, as we deal with unpredictable fuel prices, passenger train service is something we need to invest in.”

Tester noted no cuts are expected.  Last fall, he voted to authorize $2.5 billion a year in funding for Amtrak over the next five years.

Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman, who was riding the Empire Builder across northern Montana Saturday, joined Tester in Havre.

“Passenger rail is enjoying a significant resurgence, and we appreciate the support of Senator Tester, who clearly sees the value we bring to Montana and the rest of the country,” said Boardman.  “The Empire Builder is Amtrak’s most popular long-distance train, carrying more than 550,000 passengers last year.” 

Tester said Amtrak’s Empire Builder, which stops daily in 12 communities across northern Montana, is an important part of rural Montana’s transportation infrastructure.

Tester said the Empire Builder provides business and tourism opportunities, access to health care in other parts of the state, and “maybe even the best way to go catch a Class C basketball game.”

Amtrak reported a record 28.7 million passengers during the past fiscal year.  The train service connects more than 500 stations across 46 states.

Amtrak’s Empire Builder route—between Seattle and Chicago—makes daily stops in Wolf Point, Glasgow, Malta, Havre, Shelby, Cut Bank, Browning, East Glacier, Essex, West Glacier, Whitefish and Libby.