Since 1999 Belvidere has been chugging away on researching the possibility of getting commuter rail service to our area. Soon after, Rockford climbed aboard the research train and now both cities received some positive news about the feasibility of establishing commuter rail service right here.
Imagine one day being able to board the train in Chicago and two hours later arrive at your stop in Rockford. It's a possibility that is gaining momentum. After an eight month study, Transystems Corporation has found that commuter rail service is feasible for our community.
Belvidere Mayor Fred Brereton says, "You don't have to do a tough sell to get people to understand this project and now we're next in line."
The report finds that our existing railroads are in good operating condition, the project is said to have a bargain price tag, and if they extend the line researchers say they will ride.
Project Director Mark Walbrun says, "We found high ridership. Many community members used to use rail service in bigger cities. Some say that with so many traffic problems they wish this form of transportation existed."
The commuter rail line would offer nine different ridership opportunities which most other rail systems in the nation can not offer. Now, it's just a matter of finding who will come aboard the funding express.
The project would cost $88 million. Money could come from motel tax or a tax increase. A funding plan needs to be established and the community will also get a chance to weigh in on this project.