Durbin Announces an Additional $7 Million in Funding for Illinois Related Rail Projects

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – In addition to the $230 million in funding announced earlier today for Chicago-Quad Cities-Iowa City route, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded nearly $7 million in funding to two rail projects that will positively impact Illinois rail.


The $236.9 million in total funding for projects affecting Illinois will support a regional effort by nine Midwestern States to build an integrated high speed rail network. These states have already completed careful planning and made significant investments to modernize our existing passenger rail system. The Midwest rail system, with Chicago as its hub, could provide 3,000 miles of high speed rail service and serve 90 percent of the 60.3 million people living in its nine-state region. A significant federal investment into this region could create a rail system that could carry nearly as much traffic as regional air service.


Funding for projects that impact Illinois include:

  • $230,000,000 in funding 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. This is a joint project between the states of Illinois and Iowa.
  • $3,711,576 in funding to replace two existing steel and concrete composite railway bridges, located in Wadsworth, Illinois. The bridges are located between Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Amtrak’s Hiawatha and Empire Builder routes. Both bridges need to be replaced in order to meet speed, reliability and scheduling needs.
  • $3,200,000 in funding to complete a service development plan and corridor environmental study for a Chicago to Detroit high speed rail corridor.


The funding is part of the $2.5 billion Congress appropriated in Fiscal Year 2010 for high speed rail corridors and intercity passenger rail service (HSPIR Program). The Department of Transportation received 20 applications from 10 states totaling $7.8 billion for high-speed rail corridor development programs and 57 applications from 18 states totaling $700 million for smaller, individual projects within rail corridors that are ready to begin construction. There is $1.0 billion included for the HSPIR Program in the 2011 Senate Transportation Appropriations bill which was approved by the Appropriations Committee and is awaiting action by the full Senate.


The long-term goal of the HSIPR Program – created in June 2009 – is to build an efficient, high-speed and emerging high speed passenger rail network connecting major population centers 100 to 600 miles apart. In the short-term, the program aims to aid economic recovery efforts and lay the foundation for this high-speed passenger rail network through targeted investments. Earlier this year, $8 billion was awarded nationwide under this program including $1.1 billion to bring high speed rail to the Chicago-St. Louis corridor.