Durbin and Ardis Applaud DOT Funding to Study Passenger Rail Between Peoria and Bloomington-Normal
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mayor Jim Ardis of Peoria, Illinois joined the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission in celebrating the Department of Transportation (DOT)’s decision to award $160,000 in funding to study the feasibility of establishing passenger rail service from Bloomington-Normal – which is currently served by Amtrak service from Chicago to St. Louis – to Peoria.
“Connecting Peoria to the high speed rail service in Bloomington-Normal opens up new possibilities for businesses and travelers from Chicago to St. Louis,” said Durbin. “I thank Mayor Ardis and the mayors of Bloomington and Normal for their support of this project which is a significant investment in Central Illinois’ future.”
“This is very good news for Peoria and Bloomington/Normal. Peoria has prioritized the need to provide passenger rail access to Bloomington,” said Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis. “This will now only allow for increased business, education and leisure opportunities with Bloomington/Normal, but also additional access to Chicago and other destinations. Peoria's goal is to have access to high-speed rail in the very near future and this grant will help move that goal forward.”
‘It’s good to see that the work of the Passenger Rail Advisory Committee – who sponsored the application for this funding – is generating some results,” said Dean Grimm, Chairman of the Passenger Rail Advisory Committee. “We look forward to working with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Transportation as this project gets underway.”
The Amtrak station in Normal is the busiest in Illinois outside of Chicago and a considerable amount of that ridership is from the Peoria area. According to the Economic Development Council of Central Illinois, over 5,000 people travel from the Peoria area to Bloomington-Normal to work on a daily basis, and over 2,500 travel in the reverse direction. It has been estimated that over 95% of these commuters travel alone in a single-occupancy vehicle. Having a study investigating passenger rail options is the first step to better connecting these two hubs and reduce travel times and congestion while improving air quality in the region.
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