[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that Illinois will receive $42.3 million in additional high speed rail funding to finance track and other improvements on the Chicago to St. Louis corridor. Earlier today the Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Ray LaHood, reprogrammed a total of $1.2 billion in funding that was rejected by the incoming governors of Ohio and Wisconsin.
“Illinois will be able to use this funding to break ground on projects that were included in the state’s application for high speed rail along the Chicago to St. Louis corridor, but not funded earlier this year,” said Durbin. “Improvements to the route will decrease travel times even further and create jobs that our state badly needs.”
Durbin, a member of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, announced in January that more than $1.2 billion in federal high speed rail funding was allocated for the Chicago to St. Louis corridor. Durbin has worked closely with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, 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 to make high speed rail a reality in Illinois.
In October, Durbin and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced that $230 million in federal funding was awarded for a new Amtrak route between Chicago and Iowa City through the Quad Cities. The project – scheduled for completion in 2015 – will create 588 jobs per year for the first four years of design and construction. Once initiated, the new service is expected to increase business activity at $25 million per year. Durbin also supports the State of Illinois’ plan to extend Amtrak service from Chicago to Rockford and the Quad Cities.