It's hard to believe that Olympia cannot "afford" $922.25 a month to pay its contracted share of the operating and maintenance costs for Centennial Station, the only all-volunteer Amtrak Station in the nation.
A great many of the 60,600 people boarding and deboarding each year visit Olympia for business or pleasure. Can Olympia really believe it doesn’t reap any resources from those who choose to travel to Olympia on the train? If each of those 60,600 spent 50 cents in Olympia, $30,300 would be realized by the merchants with the city gaining the tax revenue.
I’ve been a volunteer at Centennial Station since 1993. Passengers often ask about the station. I take pride in touting that it is the funding partnership between Intercity Transit, the jurisdictions, and Amtrak plus the work of the many volunteers that maintain and operate the facility. It would be a shame to have to add, “Well, all the jurisdictions that is except for the City of Olympia.”
Olympia’s claim that they cannot “afford” $922.25 a month to support the Amtrak station is a travesty. The message to other jurisdictions becomes, “If Olympia refuses to pay its share of the maintenance and operation, why should we?”
Do you really think Intercity Transit can — or should — pay all the costs? Does Olympia really believe that the passengers should have to pay for parking at the station (which serves as a park and ride) just so Olympia can “save” $922.25 a month?
Indeed, shame on Olympia.