[WASHINGTON, DC] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today praised the effort by the State of Illinois to bring Amtrak service to Rockford.  Durbin has helped bring together Amtrak, federal, state and local officials in order to secure high speed rail for Illinois and the Midwest and to extend new service from Chicago to Rockford and the Quad Cities.  Durbin also added that in addition to the recently announced $8 billion in federal high speed rail funds, Congress included $2.5 billion for related rail improvements in the 2010 Omnibus Appropriations bill – some of which may be available in Illinois to help start new service to Rockford and the Quad Cities.

“Local officials in Rockford recognized long ago the economic boost that rail service could bring to Northern Illinois. I commend the community for using an open and transparent process to choose a preferred Amtrak route.  Their hard work and determination has made today’s announcement and the funding by the State of Illinois possible.”
 
“The strong proposal that Rockford has put forward increases the chances that they could be eligible for some of the federal rail funding that is available this year.  I will continue to work with community leaders, the State of Illinois and the U.S. Department of Transportation to see that this route becomes an integral part of the Midwest rail network.”
 
Durbin, a member of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, announced on Friday more than $1.2 billion in federal high speed rail funding for the Chicago to St. Louis corridor with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo, Amtrak Board Chairman Tom Carper, Members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation and others.

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