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CHICAGO (CBS) — Speaking at a news conference at Union Station yesterday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said he’s concerned what this week has in store for the 3.4 million passengers who ride trains in and out of Chicago.
Congress is expected to take up the federal transportation funding bill this week.
Senator Durbin says the House of Representatives’ version of the Fiscal Year 2012 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill would make big cuts.
In fact, Amtrak, he says, stands to lose 60 percent of its operation funds.
Durbin says if that happened, Amtrak would be forced to lay off many of its workers, including some of the 1,800 workers in Illinois.
Durbin says the economic impact would also be felt by more than 110 train equipment manufacturers and contractors doing business with Amtrak in Illinois as well as Chicago hotels, businesses and restaurants that would lose customers.
Durbin says the U.S. infrastructure is falling behind other countries like China and while it would be ideal to add money to infrastructure, he realizes that is impossible right now, given the economy.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Michelle Fiore Reports