In its decisions, the FRA selected the Rock Island Corridor as the most efficient route between Joliet and Chicago and chose a consolidated route along 10th Street through Springfield. The decisions will make the corridor eligible for new trains, improved frequencies, help improve on-time performance and ultimately, reduce travel time to less than four hours.
"This represents a major step forward, both for the State of Illinois and the Midwest as a whole," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Future enhancements to the Midwest Regional Rail Network will create jobs and strengthen the region's manufacturing base in the future, all while giving travelers a better, faster rail experience."
Since 2010, IDOT has received more than $1.4 billion in previously awarded federal funds to develop high-speed rail service between Chicago and St. Louis and build the next generation of American-made trains. Included in these investments are track, equipment and signaling improvements for the rail service, as well as station enhancements.
By 2015, completed construction projects will allow for speeds of 110 mph for more than 70 percent of the corridor.