ILLINOIS, USA — Illinois State Representative Mike Halpin is calling for more progress in the Moline to Chicago passenger rail project.
Halpin says the federal, state, and local parties are all on board. Now he says it's time for the Iowa Interstate Railroad to come on board too. The railroad company owns the tracks from Bureau County, Illinois to Moline, but they'd have to upgrade them to make them ready for passenger trains. The distance between the two locations is about 55 miles.
"All we can do as federal, state and local officials is to reiterate our support for the project, reiterate that we've put the dollars there to pay for the project and simply ask the railroad to sign the maintenance agreement on the dotted line and get the project moving," Halpin said in an interview Thursday, April 1st.
In a statement released to News 8, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation said, "IDOT continues to negotiate in good faith with the hope that we can reach agreement this year. We remain very optimistic. Once an agreement is reached, we anticipate hosting a public meeting that shares these details after they are finalized."
Local transportation leaders briefly touched on the infrastructure plan being proposed in Congress in a meeting hosted by the Quad Cities Chamber Friday, April 23rd.
Illinois Deputy Secretary of Transportation Doug House, former Chairman of the Rock Island County Democratic Party and Moline Public Works General Manager, said they're negotiating with a private entity in the Iowa Interstate Railroad, and just because you haven't heard anything about the project publicly, doesn't mean work isn't going on behind the scenes. The federal funding of $177 million has been extended by the Federal Railroad Administration through 2024 as well.