Commissioners debate lack of Amtrak subsidy

Published 7:12 pm Friday, March 18, 2005

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS - It was an eye-rubbing sight, Republican Cass County commissioners bucking President Bush's attempt to reduce spending, with a lone Democrat appealing for fiscal restraint.
That's because at issue Thursday was the Amtrak subsidy. The National Railroad Passenger Corp.'s trains pass through daily, with four stopping in Dowagiac.
The commission "strongly requests that the Bush administration change its position, and that our congressional representatives do all within their power to insure that Amtrak can continue to provide full railroad passenger service throughout our entire nation."
Commissioners directed that a copy of their action be dispatched to President George W. Bush, Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, Amtrak and MAC, the Michigan Association of Counties.
A similar resolution Taylor alluded to before the commission concerned Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency (SMCAA), the community action program serving Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties.
It provides such services as weatherization, food commodities and assistance with emergencies such as utility disconnects and evictions.
SMCAA also provides emergency shelter for those who are homeless and administers programs for permanent supportive housing and transitional housing.
SMCAA offers the only individual development account program in southwest Michigan and offers home ownership and budgeting classes throughout the tri-county area and is the lead entity and fiduciary for the free tax assistance program.