Agreement in Place for Construction of Chicago-Moline Passenger Rail Route, Creating 2,000 Jobs

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) today announced that a cooperative agreement has been finalized with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and host railroads to begin construction of the Chicago-Moline passenger rail corridor. The project is expected to create nearly 2,000 jobs.

“We are very excited that we now have an agreement in place so construction can begin on this important passenger service extension connecting Chicago and the Quad Cities,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. “Governor Quinn’s guidance and leadership on this issue has helped us ensure that service will begin on the corridor between Chicago and Moline in 2014.”

The cooperative agreement with the FRA allows the obligation of $177 million in federal funds towards corridor construction. The state is matching the federal funds with $45 million from Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital program.

“Expanding passenger rail creates jobs, promotes economic development and provides people an alternative to the automobile by connecting the great cities throughout our state,” Governor Quinn said. “This agreement announced today is another important step to linking the Quad Cities area to Chicago and the global economy through new passenger service.”

“Almost five years ago we began a study of this route that reaffirmed what most in the region already knew: Expanding access into the Quad Cities makes economic sense,” said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin. “That we are able to make this idea one step closer to reality today is a testament to the ability of Quad City officials, businesses and the public to unite behind a strong agenda to create jobs and boost economic development.”

The cooperative agreement on construction of the Chicago-to-Moline passenger service includes sub-agreements on service outcome arrangements with the host railroads, Burlington Northern and Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad from Chicago to Wyanet and Iowa Interstate Railroad from Wyanet to Moline. The service outcome agreement sets forth how the corridor will be operated and provides for reliability standards.

“The Illinois Department of Transportation’s announcement of a cooperative agreement with the Federal Rail Administration is a huge step forward to bring passenger rail to the Quad Cities,” said Moline Mayor Don Welvaert. “The Quad Cities Rail Initiative is a perfect example of how city, state and federal agencies work together to make great transportation and economic development projects happen.”