“We think that it would generate about $271 million every year in economic benefit to the seven states served, and we think it would cost Amtrak, very roughly, $68 million a year to operate,” said Jim Mathews with the Rail Passengers Research Team. “That cost would be partly offset by $41 million or so per year on fares and other customer revenue.”
According to the report’s findings, restoring the route would bring service to roughly 47 stops across seven states ranging from Washington to Illinois. The benefits to the counties served by the stops would aggregate to around $70 million annually and generate nearly $5 million in visitor spending.
By Martin Kidston
Report pins future numbers to proposal for Montana’s “southern rail route”
The report is the first economic analysis of the proposal and comes a year after the formation of the Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority. Missoula, Gallatin, and the other counties along the route hope to restore the passenger rail service that ended 42 years ago.