WASHINGTON—Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Gov. Quinn and other state and federal officials will announce Tuesday afternoon in Chicago funding for a second phase of the Chicago-St. Louis high-speed rail line. The Obama administration has been touting high-speed rail construction as a jobs program–as well as a filling a transportation need.
Quinn was in Washington last week discussing the project with Durbin and Joe Szabo, the chief of the Federal Railway Administration, who will join Quinn, Durbin, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Joe Bateman, Vice President, Union Pacific Railroad and others at a press conference at the Amtrak rail yard, near Roosevelt Road and the Chicago River.
Speaking to reporters in the Capitol on Thursday about the Chicago-St. Louis route, Quinn said, “We want to make this corridor the pre-eminent one in America. …The key route is Chicago to St. Louis. We want to get Cubs fans down to Busch Stadium faster so they can see better results than they’ve seen in recent years.”
Work has already started on the high speed tracks, with much of the construction so far between Alton and Springfield. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and Quinn are cooperating on the project. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker rejected federal high speed rail funds and Illinois got some of that money; Florida also turned down federal funds. Quinn and Durbin have asked Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood to funnel some of the Florida allocation to Illinois based rail projects.