U.S. Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined U.S. Reps. Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) in a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, urging the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to provide funding for the construction of a railroad underpass at Carpenter Street, an important component of the Springfield Rail Improvement Project and the entire Chicago-to-St. Louis passenger rail corridor.
"The future of the Springfield Rail Improvement project depends on federal support for rail projects," wrote the Illinois members. "The underpass will allow the city to eliminate three at-grade rail-highway crossings, decreasing car and train accidents by 80 percent, reducing vehicle delays at rail crossings by 71 percent and improving access for emergency first responders for thousands of Springfield residents. The project is a vital step for the entire area's rail improvement strategy, as the free flow of police, fire and medical services must be preserved before other grade crossings are addressed."
The city of Springfield and Sangamon County, with the support of the Illinois Department of Transportation recently submitted an application to the USDOT for $14 million in funding through the TIGER grant program. The FY2013 Transportation Appropriations bill signed into law on March 26, 2013 appropriated $475 million for the program.