Durbin Meets with Quad City Development Group to Discuss Regional Priorities

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with fifty-five community leaders from the Quad Cities to discuss their regional priorities as part of the Quad City Development Group (QCDG) trip to Washington.


“The Quad City Development Group does a great job of coming together to promote a unified agenda for the entire region,” said Durbin. “Their record with the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), fighting for the Rock Island Arsenal was excellent. Now they are promoting projects like passenger rail service, secure water and sewer infrastructure and bridge upgrades.”


One of the highest priorities for the Quad Cities area and for the QCDG is to attract passenger rail service. In January 2008, Amtrak and the Illinois Department of Transportation completed a route feasibility study for Chicago to Quad Cities service that determined the preferred route, necessary infrastructure improvements, expected ridership, trip time, speed, and overall cost projections.


“Amtrak provides quick, cost-effective, and reliable public ground transportation to 30 communities in the state. It is time to add communities in Northwest and North Central Illinois to that list. And now, because of coordinated efforts from groups like the Quad Cities Development Group, Illinois is in a good position to compete for the $8 billion available in stimulus funding for high speed rail,” noted Durbin.


Another transportation project the group brought to Senator Durbin’s attention was the need to replace the I-74 Mississippi River Bridge. The bridge carries 78,000 vehicles daily and was designed to handle fewer than 50,000 vehicles a day. It is functionally obsolete and does not meet Interstate standards. The Iowa-bound span was built in 1935. The Illinois-bound span was built in 1959. The total cost of the replacement is estimated at $780 million - $83 million has already been appropriated for this project.


Participants in the meeting discussed their recent request that Congress increase funding for both the drinking water and clean water State Revolving Funds. These funds finance water infrastructure improvements and water quality protection projects. Expanding populations have caused many local governments to struggle to meet the needs of expanding populations. Among these needs is a secure drinking water and wastewater infrastructure that meets both quality and environmental standards.


The following officials attended today’s meeting: Rock Island Co. Board Chair Jim Bohnsack, Mercer Co. Board Chair Tom Harris, Aledo Mayor Lee Celske, Silvis Mayor Lyle Lohse, R.I. Mayor Mark Schwiebert, East Moline Mayor John Thodos, Moline Mayor Don Welvaert, Galva Mayor Tom Hartman and Carbon Cliff Mayor Ken Williams.