Quad Cities-Chicago Route Receives First Ever Funding

President Barack Obama signed the Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act on March 11, 2009, which included a $475,000 earmark for Quad Cities track improvements.  The earmark was secured by Rep. Phil Hare (IL-17) at the request of the Quad Cities Passenger Rail Coalition.  This appropriation marks the first ever federal or state funding specifically allocated to restore passenger rail service on the much anticipated Chicago to Quad Cities route.  While $22.7 million is needed to complete the entire Quad Cities route, IL DOT will receive $475,000 to begin track improvements identified in the 2008 Amtrak Feasibility Study. 

"This funding is a historic milestone for the Quad Cities," said Paul Rumler, Executive Director of the Quad Cities Passenger Rail Coalition.  "QC Rail thanks Congressman Hare for securing this funding and the entire Quad Cities Congressional Delegation for their continued support.  All of QC Rail's 7,000 individual members and 130 government, business, labor, and community organization supporters should be proud to know their advocacy efforts are being successful."

QC Rail has been actively organizing supporters and advocating to state and federal legislators since forming the coalition in May 2007.  Just in recent months, QC Rail has met with congressional staff in the Quad Cities and twice visited with Congressmen and Senators on Capital Hill in Washington, DC.  Members of QC Rail will return to Washington, DC next week to discuss funding the remainder of the project.

Just last month, President Obama and Congress passed the $787 billion Economic Stimulus proposal, which included the largest ever funding amount for passenger rail in United States history.  A total of $9.3 billion was allocated for passenger rail - $8 billion for intercity and high speed rail corridors and $1.3 billion for Amtrak.  QC Rail has requested IL DOT and IA DOT apply for stimulus funding for the Chicago-Quad Cities-Iowa City route when it becomes available.  U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood will release a funding strategy for the $8 billion in April and project funding criteria in June.

"Today's funding demonstrates how real Quad Cities Amtrak service has become," said Jim Bohnsack, Chairman of the Quad Cities Passenger Rail Coalition.  "This project has been a longtime priority of the Quad Cities and QC Rail will keep pushing to make sure the route is fully funded."   

Please contact your members of the Quad Cities Congressional Delegation and thank them for the $475,000 earmark to begin Quad Cities track improvements.  This is a great start, and we'll need their continued support to receive full funding.

© 2007 Quad Cities Passenger Rail Coalition