Amtrak Plans are Stalled in the Stateline

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

Stateline Rail won't be chugging along anytime soon. Five years without a Capital Improvements Plan has halted Rockford's future with Amtrak, unless, as Senator Dave Syverson says, the rail company comes up with funds on its own.

"Even if we pass a Capital Plan this year, we have five years of backlog of work that has to be done."

Backlog work includes rail improvements to existing lines such as rail from Chicago to St. Louis. There, ridership went up 30% last year. And Brad Englin of the Rockford Transportation Coalition, expects Stateline rail to have the same success.

"You've got a lot of people that would take advantage of the route. That's tourism dollars, that's other tax revenue for other cities and locales." "you've got a lot of people that would take advantage of the route that's tourism dollars that's other tax revenue for other cities and locales."

The proposed route runs from Chicago to Dubuque, making stops in Rockford and Galena. Amtrak would serve as a destination line since punctuation isn't its forte. In 2006, just 68% of trains arrived on time. But for commuters, Metra is still up in the air with final analysis underway.

"One could help the other which upgrades to the rails for one would save costs of having to upgrade it for the other."

Both rails are possible, but only if there's funding. Lawmakers meet next week to discuss adding four casinos throughout the state, which would help fund infrastructure projects. Otherwise, the Stateline will go another year without seeing the one hundred million dollars needed for improvements.


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