Illinois Recovers Florida’s Fumbled Light-Rail Dough

This isn’t the first time Illinois has benefited from another state’s mystifying rejection of federal high-speed rail dollars. As Earthtechling has reported, Illinois was the eager recipient of $42.3 million in high-speed rail funding that was rejected by the governors of Ohio and Wisconsin. Illinois expects to add up to 6,000 jobs related to the project.

highspeed-rail

image via Eurostar

This is all good news in Illinois where the windfall will be used to start work this spring on a 70-mile extension reaching to Joliet, outside of Chicago. The new work will allow for trains to travel at up to speeds of 110 mph along nearly 70 percent of the route from Chicago to St. Louis. When the new network is complete, the 284-mile trip between the two cities could take less than four hours.

This comes at an opportune time, as Amtrak reports that ridership has increased by 137 percent in the past five years between St. Louis and Chicago. The corridor will also benefit from next-generation American-made trains, funded as part of a previously announced $782 million grant. States will purchase 33 quick-acceleration locomotives and 120 bilevel passenger cars to operate in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, California, Washington and Oregon.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.

1 Comment

  • Reply January 6, 2012

    Willie Green

    It is indeed ironic that John Mica claims that Governor Rick Scott’s blunder “defies logic” when Mica is himself an obstructionist of regional passenger rail service.u00a0nnu00a0As chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, John Mica’s primary source of campaign funding comes from the Airline Industry. And to protect the profits of that industry, Mica has used his position to suppress competitive regional passenger rail service nationwide by diverting all available funding to the high cost NE Corridor.nnIt is indeed fortunate that Illinois is the beneficiary of funding that has already been appropriated. u00a0They are making very pragmatic upgrades to their regional service despite Mica’s obstructionism.

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