Durbin, Bustos Push IDOT Secretary For Progress On Quad Cities Passenger Rail Project

WASHINGTONToday, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) today met virtually with Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Omer Osman to discuss the need for progress on the Quad Cities to Chicago Passenger Rail Project after years of delay.  Durbin, Bustos, and Secretary Osman also spoke about how to best use the more than $17 billion in funding allocated to the state through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IJA).


“With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Illinois will soon see a new era in infrastructure,” said Durbin. “In meeting with Secretary Osman, I expressed my hope that we can finally make progress on the Quad Cities Rail Project and reaffirmed my commitment to supporting our region’s infrastructure projects on a federal level.”


“We are in a pivotal moment for infrastructure improvements across the country – and I’m focused on ensuring that communities in Northwest and Central Illinois benefit from these investments,” said Bustos. “Today, I joined Senator Dick Durbin to urge Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Omer Osman to meet this moment by making real progress on a long-overdue Amtrak line between the Quad-Cities and Chicago. Now is the time to get this done.”


A photo of today’s meeting is available here.


Last month, Durbin and Bustos led a letter to IDOT and Iowa Interstate Railroad (IAIS) urging them to finalize an agreement on the scope and costs of infrastructure upgrades needed so that construction can begin on the long-awaited Quad Cities to Chicago passenger rail route.


Durbin secured $177 million in federal funding for the rail project in 2010.  The project was delayed for years because former Governor Rauner refused to provide state funding for it.  Governor Pritzker renewed the state’s commitment to the project by providing $225 million in state funding in 2019, but since then IDOT and IAIS have failed to reach an agreement on the infrastructure upgrades needed for the project.  Durbin and Bustos have secured repeated extensions of the federal funding, but the current funding extension will expire in 2024 unless IDOT and IAIS reach an agreement so construction can begin.  The proposed Quad Cities passenger rail route, running between Chicago and Quad Cities, was initially slated to begin service in 2014.