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Durbin says Amtrak cuts will affect students in downstate

From Illinois Business Journal news services

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., met with Southern Illinois University President Randy Dunn on Wednesday to discuss higher education issues and the importance of robust state and federal funding for Amtrak to the university community.

During the meeting, Durbin and Dunn talked about the impact proposed state budget cuts could have on passenger service to downstate Illinois communities. Earlier in the day, Durbin also urged members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to increase federal funding for passenger rail.

“There isn’t a college or university in downstate Illinois – including Southern Illinois University – that isn’t going to be impacted by proposed state budget cuts to Amtrak service,” Durbin said. “I want to work with Southern Illinois University President Randy Dunn and members of the SIU community to ensure that students and their families can continue counting on Illinois’ passenger rail network as an affordable, safe, and efficient method of traveling to school.”

During the meeting, Durbin and Dunn also discussed the importance of support for federally funded biomedical and science research. Durbin introduced two bills – the American Cures Act and the American Innovation Act – earlier this year to support the future of biomedical and basic science research. Major research universities like Southern Illinois University – which has endorsed the legislation – have felt the impact of a decades-long downward trend in federal funding for research and development.

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