DURBIN, DUCKWORTH, BUSTOS PUSH DOT TO SUPPORT QUAD CITIES AMTRAK ROUTE

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17), urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue an extension for federal funding for the Amtrak route between Chicago and Moline.  After funding delays from former Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker renewed the state’s financial commitment to the proposed state-supported Amtrak route between Chicago and Moline by providing $225 million in state funding for the project in the state’s recently passed capital bill.  The members, in a letter to DOT Secretary Elaine Chao, urged DOT to extend the deadline for Illinois to use $177 million in Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) funding that was secured in Fiscal Year 2010.

“This project maintains strong support and commitment at both the state and local level. With the renewed financial commitment from the State, an extension of these funds will provide the Illinois Department of Transportation and Iowa Interstate Railroad the time they need to finalize negotiations over the infrastructure upgrades needed to convert the tracks for passenger service.  Additionally, an extension will grant local communities the certainty they need to plan ahead for the new passenger rail service,” the members wrote in a letter to Secretary Chao.

 

Full text of today’s letter is available here and below:

June 19, 2019

Dear Secretary Chao:

We write to express our strong support for the proposed state-supported Amtrak route between Chicago and Moline, Illinois, and to urge the Department of Transportation to issue an extension for the federal funding that has already been secured for the project.

Despite project delays brought on by the state’s previous governor, Illinois’ newly elected governor has already renewed the state’s financial commitment to the proposed state-supported Amtrak route between Chicago and Moline by providing $225 million in state funding for the project in the state’s recently passed capital bill.  Additionally, the City of Moline has already converted a downtown warehouse into a multi-modal transportation center and hotel, which will serve as the train’s station.  Extending the deadline for the state to use the $177 million in Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) funding that was secured in Fiscal Year 2010 will allow the long-awaited project to finally move forward.

This project maintains strong support and commitment at both the state and local level. With the renewed financial commitment from the State, an extension of these funds will provide the Illinois Department of Transportation and Iowa Interstate Railroad the time they need to finalize negotiations over the infrastructure upgrades needed to convert the tracks for passenger service.  Additionally, an extension will grant local communities the certainty they need to plan ahead for the new passenger rail service.

Thank you for your consideration and response to this important matter. We look forward to working with you to see this project over the finish line.

Sincerely,

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