2004 will soon go down as one the most promising years Rockford has had in transportation.
As the year comes to an end new airline service will begin with three new passenger carriers taking us to exciting locations like Cancun, Denver and Orlando, and more destinations could be on the way.
"By the end of 2005 I think we'll have non-stop services to Europe out of Rockford,” says David Lindberg, president of the Greater Rockford Transportation Coalition.
Construction is also near completion on the international Arrival's Terminal at the Rockford Airport along with a new 500-car parking lot.
The Rockford Airport’s success could also help bring commuter rail service to the area. An existing set of tracks near the airport could someday be used to connect with O'Hare and into the City of Chicago bringing more people to the stateline and helping boost the economy.
“A commuter rail service would benefit the airport and the entire city because it opens up the job markets in suburbs and the City of Chicago and right now were limited to one way to get to Chicago and that’s I-90," says Lindberg.
Results from a recent study on rail service were more positive than expected showing a potential annual rider ship of almost a quarter of a million people. In February phase two of the study will be completed, and if all goes well, Rockford could potentially have rail service in the next four to eight years.
“We have to see where the economies going and what’s happening with the airline industry but if this years any indication I think 2005’s going to be an exciting year," says Lindberg.
Another positive change this year is the Cherry Valley toll plaza is now a thing of the past and plans are underway to reconstruct the entrance and exit ramps at the I-90/US 20/I-39 interchange.