As Biden Praises Amtrak at DNC, Trump Wants to Cut Its Budget in Half

A video showing Joe Biden's famous appreciation and support for Amtrak has been praised as one of the highlights of the first day of the Democratic National Convention.

The clip shares the story of how Biden took the train to work as a senator for more than 30 years in order to spend more time with his family in Delaware.

The video features several Amtrak workers discussing seeing Biden on the train for years, praising the expected Democratic presidential nominee for treating them like "important people."

Staff member Gregg Weaver also described how Biden got in contact with him while serving as vice president after Weaver suffered a heart attack.

"I'm not saying it like it was me and I was anything special, we have heroes all over this country and a lot of the essential workers out there we don't even see, they're behind the scenes, they're keeping this country going.

"He understands that," Weaver adds. "The average guy is important to him."

The video was well received on social media.

"The Amtrak story really does illustrate the stark, glaring contrast in decency and authenticity between Biden and Trump," tweeted political commentator Brain Normoyle.

"'The average guy is important to him. The average guy is important to him.' And that's what it's all about."

GOP political consultant Mike Murphy added: "Amtrak video tonight was easily best ad segment tonight. Told people who Biden really is in a credible way. Big Needle-mover."

Watch Amtrak employees and riders look back at Joe Biden’s 30 years of riding the rails #DemConvention pic.twitter.com/les5iGtKN9

— NowThis (@nowthisnews) August 18, 2020

The Amtrak segment was a great example of what is special about Biden, and what's taken him so far: he is fundamentally good with people.

He is better with people than almost anybody else.

— Charlotte Alter (@CharlotteAlter) August 18, 2020

Close your eyes and try to imagine Donald Trump having one relationship in his life as deep as the one Joe Biden has with his Amtrak Conductor

You can’t

— Andrew Rose Gregory (@arosegregory) August 18, 2020

Tearing up listening to the Amtrak workers who say Joe Biden treated them with as much dignity and respect as he would treat the president. Class. #DemConvention #DemocraticConvention

— Bryan Behar (@bryanbehar) August 18, 2020

That Amtrak video was great. Hit the core of who Joe Biden is and I’d watch an 8-part Netflix series on the people he rode with on those trains. pic.twitter.com/zAj2czt1g2

— Lily Adams (@adamslily) August 18, 2020

The video arrived following a sustained difficult period for the train service provider, which is set to see large budget cuts, job losses and the removal of several services.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump's administration unveiled its proposed budget for the next fiscal year which called for Amtrak's funding to be cut by more than 50 percent.

The budget would reduce funding to the Northeast Corridor from $700 million to $325 million, as well as cut funding for long-distance train routes from $1.3 billion to $611 million.

This was before the COVID-19 pandemic further crippled the national train provider, forcing it to announce plans to reduce its operating costs by approximately $500 million.

Amtrak previously reported a 95 percent drop in ridership since the start of the pandemic.

In May, Amtrak CEO William J. Flynn Flynn wrote a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, in his capacity as president of the Senate, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanding a supplemental appropriation of $1.475 billion for the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1.

This was in addition to an annual $2 billion in support it has received from Congress in recent years.

Amtrak has also warned it plans to cut its workforce by up to 20 percent in the coming budget year.

In June, the TWU Railroad Division union, which represents Amtrak workers, urged people to contact Congress and demand they support funding the train service, claiming bosses are using the coronavirus outbreak as an excuse to permanently remove its routes.

"Amtrak is putting 20 percent of its workers on the chopping block to be furloughed and has plans to drastically reduce long-distance services. The company is using the Covid-19 pandemic to cut or suspend service on many of its routes across the country—with the intention of making them permanent," the union said.

"The time is now come together and ensure the longevity and safety of not only our sisters & brothers careers, but also our national rail network."

Amtrak has been contacted for comment.

Amtrak
A passenger walks to a departing Amtrak train at Union Station on April 9, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Rob Carr/Getty