ROCKFORD – January 30, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today visited Rockford to award $60 million in state capital funds to establish passenger rail service from Chicago to Rockford. The new service could result in as many as 2,000 new jobs, including more than 650 construction jobs.
“This week, we were happy to receive $1.2 billion in federal money for high-speed rail that will take people between Chicago and St. Louis,” said Governor Quinn. “Now we want to make sure people can travel from Chicago to Rockford and beyond. This new line is going to connect Chicago to the western part of our state, create jobs and bring more visitors to the city of Rockford.”
The Chicago to Rockford project is one leg of a planned passenger train service extension that would connect west across northern Illinois to Dubuque, Iowa. Trains would depart Dubuque early in the morning, arriving in Chicago in the late morning. Trains would depart Chicago in the evening, arriving in Dubuque before midnight.
“It is important that we continue to invest in our state’s rail system," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. "We hope to get this project started this year and are very excited about what the future holds for passenger rail in Illinois."
Despite being the second largest city in Illinois, Rockford has not seen passenger rail service since 1981. Preliminary work will start immediately with construction slated to begin in 2011, creating new jobs that will benefit the city with the highest unemployment in the state.
Federal officials announced Thursday that Illinois will receive $1.2 billion through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to begin track and signal upgrades for high-speed passenger rail service between Chicago and St. Louis.
The funding for this passenger rail project is part of Illinois Jobs Now!, a job generation and capital improvement program that will revive the state’s ailing economy by creating and retaining over 439,000 jobs over six years.