STATELINE (WIFR) -- Roundtrip, daily passenger rail service from Rockford to Chicago is expected to return to the Stateline next year.
The announcement just came from Governor Pat Quinn who says the state has set aside more than $200 million to finally make this happen.
If this goes through, it will be the first time passenger rail service has been in Rockford since 1981.
The rail services will run on a different set of tracks than what Governor Quinn previously promised.
Daily passenger round trip rail service will run from Chicago to Rockford on Union Pacific tracks with stops in Elgin, Huntley, and Belvidere. This is different from previous talk of Amtrak service in Rockford. Governor Quinn says the state couldn’t reach a deal with Canadian National to run rail service south of I-90.
Governor Quinn says the state has committed more than $200 million for this project which is scheduled to start construction this summer. Right now, the plan is to have one daily train round trip from Rockford to Chicago. However, Quinn says more trains will run as there’s more passengers.
Governor Quinn says this service is just a starting point. He says he hopes to extend service to Freeport, Galena, and Dubuque, Iowa.
Quinn says service will start next year and right now, a temporary station will be on 7th Street.
Now that Governor Quinn has laid out plans for the project, it comes in stark contrast to what U.S. Senator Dick Durbin told us recently.
Senator Durbin says after this year’s budget address, setting aside federal funding for the project did not look promising.