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.
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.