Project to connect Chicago to Quad Cities receives federal funding extension

Nov. 4, 2019
The project will now have until the end of 2024 to spend funds awarded nearly eight years ago.

A project to connect Chicago to the Quad Cities via an Amtrak route has secured an extension until the end of 2024 for federal funding originally awarded under the Obama Administration.  

U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17), wrote two letters to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) urging an extension to the $177 million in funds awarded in Fiscal Year 2010 through the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The elected officials cited delays in the project brought on by Illinois’ previous governor and positive movement in negotiations regarding the scope of the project as reasons to support the extension.

“[The] announcement gives local communities in the Quad Cities the certainty needed to plan ahead for the new passenger rail service,” said Sen. Durbin. “The future of this critical Illinois transportation project looks bright.”

The $177 million in funding was awarded to the Illinois Department of Transportation to begin twice daily round-trip service between Chicago and the Quad Cities, with intermediate stops at Geneseo, Princeton, Mendota and Plano, Ill. The service was to be made possible by infrastructure improvements, including a new station at Geneseo, a layover facility in the Quad Cities area, communication and signaling improvements and the purchase of new passenger rail equipment.

Sen. Duckworth called the project critical to the state’s transportation system and noted she will continue to work to make the project a reality.

“The completion of a rail line from Moline to Chicago would help grow the local economy, create jobs and connect folks from across our state with new opportunities,” Rep. Bustos said. “[News of the extension] is the culmination of years of effort and will allow for our region to take the next steps forward to prepare for this crucial project.”

Earlier this year, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the “Rebuild Illinois,” a $45 billion infrastructure bill, into law. The legislation included $225 million for the Chicago to Quad Cities passenger rail project.

“Thanks to the governor’s vision, the support of the General Assembly and the work of the state’s congressional delegation, the historic Rebuild Illinois capital program is making an historic investment in transportation across all modes in Illinois,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Under the leadership of Gov. Pritzker, we stand ready to deliver this critical project and many others like it that will create economic opportunity and enhance quality of life throughout our state.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.