It's the next step in an effort to bring commuter rail to the stateline. It's called an alternative analysis study and it will look at all alternatives for extending commuter transportation from Chicago to the stateline. Not just rail service; the Northern Illinois Commuter Rail Initiative changed its name to the Northern Illinois Commuter Transportation Initiative to reflect the next step.
"Show federal government we're not completely bent on rail, we'd still like to have it, but we're willing to work with them in a partnership to say what will work best for this area, we’re hopeful they'll choose rail," says President of the Greater Rockford Transportation Coalition Brad Englin.
Greater Rockford Transportation Coalition President Brad Englin says we're on the right track.
"We're right where we need to be, it's just now going through and doing that next tedious step," says Englin.
Next Tuesday, Nicti will hold a meeting to update leaders from surrounding communities about the group's progress.
"The consultants were sent the request for qualification documents at the beginning of March, and we had a pre-consultant meeting a couple of weeks ago where the consultants attended. They were able to ask questions and hear the entire picture of what we were looking for, and hopefully by June we hope to have a consultant selected," says
Kelly Galluzzo with Growth Dimensions.
$2.4 million in federal funding has already been secured for the alternative analysis. Once a consultant is selected it will take anywhere from 18 to 24 months to complete the study.
"Then that will be presentable to the Federal Transit Administration, to be that final step to show we've net the requirements. It just takes that much time," says Englin.
It’s a slow process that leaders hope will ultimately end with quick and convenient commuter connections.
The feasibility study, completed in November 2004, indicated that it would be feasible to extend commuter rail service from Elgin along the Union Pacific Railroad.