In February the federal government committed $1.2 billion to begin work on a high-speed passenger train between Chicago and St. Louis.   Although this amount is not what was originally hoped for, according to Senator Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, the good news for Illinois is Chicago will be the hub for high-speed rail service in America.

The original request of $4.5 billion was to secure building a second parallel rail line along the Union Pacific route running through Springfield.   Durbin said the double-track plan isn’t dead.   The government also approved a $1.25 million grant to pay for a supplemental impact statement to assess the viability of a parallel track.

This project had an initial anticipated start date early next year, but last Wednesday Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and freight rail executives have renewed their commitment to get high-speed passenger rail funding agreements hammered out with states soon.   Working through the proposed guidelines is currently underway and resolution is expected within the next two weeks.

Maggie Finegan, Move with Maggie Team

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