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Illinois Awarded More Than $95 Million To Improve Passenger Rail Throughout The State

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation announced today that Illinois has received $95.1 million from the Federal Railroad Administration to invest in passenger rail, highlighted by almost $94 million to improve and modernize Chicago’s Union Station.

“At the heart of the Midwest, Illinois sits in the center of our nation – serving as a major transportation hub for passengers and businesses alike,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “Thanks to my administration’s landmark Rebuild Illinois capital plan, we’ve been hard at work to modernize our state’s railways and train stations – and now, with a federal investment of nearly $94 million, Illinois is well on its way to creating the most robust, accessible, and connected railroad system in the country. I’m grateful to IDOT, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the Biden Administration for coming together to help us realize our vision of a brighter future.”

Amtrak and IDOT have been awarded two grants totaling $93.6 million under a federal-state partnership to deliver key components of the Chicago Hub Improvement Program, a portfolio of projects that will improve rail service and operations in Chicago and throughout the Midwest. In addition to making Union Station more accessible to riders with disabilities, the grants will renovate the building’s outdated ventilation system as well as repurpose, renovate, and expand station platforms to increase capacity for the nearly 120,000 riders that use Amtrak and Metra trains daily.

Also, under the FRA’s new Corridor Identification and Development Program, IDOT was awarded $1.5 million in planning funds for three state-supported rail corridors: Chicago to Carbondale, Chicago to St. Louis, and Chicago to Quad Cities. The grants will support efforts to develop a scope, schedule, and cost estimate for enhancing and expanding service, making each route eligible for future federal funding opportunities for construction and implementation. The city of Peoria also received a $500,000 grant from the program for a proposed passenger service to Chicago.

“Passenger rail is one key component of a multimodal transportation system that makes Illinois the transportation hub of North America,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Under the leadership of Gov. Pritzker, IDOT has been a leader in making service more reliable and accessible. These grants will provide a better customer experience for all riders who use Union Station and set the stage for even more federal investment to grow passenger rail throughout Illinois and the Midwest.”

The FRA grants, courtesy of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, strengthen the state’s passenger rail network, one of the most robust in the country. Partnering with Amtrak, Illinois offers four daily round trips between Chicago and St. Louis, two daily round trips between Chicago and Carbondale and two daily round trips between Chicago and Quincy, serving a total of 28 cities.

Through Gov. Pritzker’s historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital program, IDOT has been leading efforts to enhance passenger rail statewide, with more than $1 billion identified to expand and improve rail across the state, including $275 million to return passenger service to Rockford, $225 million to restore it to the Quad Cities, $100 million to improve safety and reliability on Amtrak’s Illini/Saluki service between Chicago and Carbondale, and $492 million to invest in modernizing operations in northeastern Illinois through the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency program.

Chris Rhodes
Author: Chris Rhodes

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