Illinois Capital Bill Includes $150 Million for Amtrak

Illinois State Representative 
Pat Verschoore

Illinois State Representative
 Mike Boland

Illinois State Senator 
Mike Jacobs

Amtrak service in Illinois is set to receive a major boost from a $28 billion Capital Bill passed by the Illinois House and Senate last week.  The bill now awaits signature by Governor Quinn.  $150 million in state funds were allocated for Illinois Amtrak routes, which is expected to fund infrastructure improvements on existing and expanded routes (like the Quad Cities).  

This level of state funding is a major breakthrough.  When the capital bill was originally proposed in March, the state did not include funding for Amtrak.  The proposal relied completely on federal stimulus funds to improve and expand passenger rail service in Illinois.  The $150 million will ensure Illinois has capital resources available at the state level while also leveraging a substantial portion of the $8 billion dedicated to President Obama's Passenger Rail Plan in the federal stimulus package.

The effort to include passenger rail funding in the capital bill required strong grassroots advocacy from QC Rail supporters and other organizations throughout the state.  QC Rail relied on the leadership of our local legislative delegation, including Rep. Pat Verschoore, Rep. Mike Boland, and Sen. Mike Jacobs, along with the House Passenger Rail Caucus led by Rep. Elaine Nekritz and Rep. Don Moffitt who opened doors for our advocacy efforts and vigorously worked with their legislative leaders to include passenger rail funding in the capital bill. 

Governor Quinn Calls for Additional High Speed Rail Funding

As a sign of Illinois' commitment to maintaining and expanding its state supported passenger rail system, Governor Pat Quinn called on the legislature to pass an additional $400 million for high speed passenger rail.  ''I think that was an oversight. I made that crystal clear to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, that high speed rail must be included in a capital bill for the people of the state of Illinois'', Quinn said outside his office in Springfield Friday.  The governor added he also remains committed to building a rail route from Chicago to the Quad Cities.

© 2007 Quad Cities Passenger Rail Coalition