Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn visited Moline, Ill, Jan. 30 to announce $45 million in state capital funds to establish passenger rail service from Chicago to the Quad Cities. The new service will result in up to 825 new jobs, including 440 construction jobs.
"This week, we were happy
to receive $1.2 billion in federal money for high-speed rail that will take
travelers between Chicago and St. Louis," said Governor Quinn. "Now we want to
make sure people can travel from Chicago to Moline and beyond. This new line is
going to connect Chicago to the western part of our state, create jobs and
bring more visitors to the Quad Cities."
The Quad Cities have not
had passenger rail service since the late 1970s. Under the new service, two
daily round trips will transport passengers to and from the Quad Cities in just
over three hours. The Chicago-to-Quad Cities project is one leg of a planned
passenger train service extension that would connect west to Iowa City, Iowa
and on to Omaha, Nebraska.
"It is important that we
continue to invest in our state’s rail system," said Illinois
Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. "We hope to get this project started
this year and are very excited about what the future holds for passenger rail
The Quad Cities project was
developed in cooperation with the state of Iowa as a "green" demonstration
project, in which various environmentally friendly initiatives in construction,
operations and local development will be used. These initiatives include
running the trains using biofuels, using recycled materials where possible in
construction, using organic foods and environmentally friendly packaging in
food services, installing "green" station upgrades to lower utility costs and
increase efficiencies and encouraging pedestrian-friendly development around
rail stations to reduce vehicle trips, among other improvements.
The funding for this
passenger rail project is part of Illinois Jobs Now!, a job generation and
capital improvement program that will revive the state’s ailing economy by
creating and retaining over 439,000 jobs over six years.