Durbin, Quinn Welcome High-Speed Rail Investment in Illinois

CHICAGO, IL, January 28, 2010 – Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today issued the following statement with regard to the announcement that Illinois has been awarded more than $1.2 billion in federal funds for high-speed rail:

“In the face of fierce competition from states across the nation, Illinois’ high-speed rail proposal received a strong vote of confidence from the White House today. Illinois was one of only three states to be awarded more than one billion dollars in funding from the federal government’s total nationwide investment of $8 billion. This is a massive investment into the future of transportation. It is seventeen times more funding than the federal government has invested into passenger rail over the last ten years combined.

“We’re thrilled with the strong support we received for the first phase of funding and look forward to both getting the projects moving and getting Illinoisans back to work. In the coming months and years, Illinois see a significant increase in economic activity with the creation of thousands of good-paying jobs in the region from this investment. And we know that rail passengers will be excited to have over an hour cut from the travel time between Chicago and St. Louis. Today’s announcement assures that Chicago, already a major rail hub of the nation, will soon become the major high-speed rail hub of the Midwest and nation.

“We would not be here today, on the cusp of making high speed rail a reality in Illinois, if it weren’t for the strong leadership of President Obama, Transportation Secretary LaHood and the support of the entire Midwest region. This historic investment in high speed passenger rail will begin to fulfill the President’s vision of rebuilding America and revitalizing the Midwest, while relieving congestion and improving energy conservation.”

Nationwide, there was great demand for high-speed rail with approximately $50 billion worth of applications for an available $8 billion in funding. In addition to improvements on the current Chicago to St. Louis corridor to increase train speeds to 110 miles per hour, the funding awarded today will allow completion of an Environmental Impact Statement for building a second track along the route as well as construction designed to eliminate significant delays for trains coming into and out of Chicago.