Northwest Illinois Blackhawk Express rail coalition supports IDOT route proposal
From press release
After meeting with Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) officials Sept. 28, representatives of the Northwest Illinois Blackhawk Express rail coalition announced they will support the Amtrak route that will be submitted for federal funding.
The coalition advocated to bring Amtrak to the region via the Union Pacific line through Belvidere, but will support IDOT’s decision to submit the Canadian National line through Genoa as the preferred route if it will provide the greatest opportunity to receive funding.
“The Northwest Illinois Blackhawk Express supports the route recommended, as it is the one best positioned to meet federal stimulus grant compliance requirements at this time,” said Einar Forsman, president and CEO of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. “We are appreciative of the support IDOT communicated to us on Monday, saying that we have real expectations to receive funding to bring passenger rail to our region and connect Rockford to both Chicago and Dubuque [Iowa].”
The coalition remains convinced that an additional rail strategy to support commuter rail connecting Rockford and Belvidere to Chicago is a critical economic development initiative they hope occurs within the next 10 years.
Through the execution of a regional grassroots campaign, the coalition collected more than 11,000 signatures from individuals who support bringing passenger rail from Dubuque to Chicago.
The Northwest Illinois Blackhawk Express is a citizen and business advocacy group representing northwest Illinois, northeast Iowa and southwest Wisconsin in promoting the creation of Amtrak rail service between Chicago and Dubuque with stops in Galena, Freeport, Rockford and Belvidere.
The Blackhawk Express Rail Coalition developed its roots as part of the Tri-State Alliance initiative, a regional partnership of chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and metropolitan planning organizations representing northwest Illinois, northeast Iowa and southwest Wisconsin. The Belvidere, Freeport, Galena and Rockford chambers of commerce, Rockford Area Realtors, and Dubuque economic development organizations are all part of the alliance and have been joined by residents, elected officials and other invested community and business groups in this grassroots partnership to advocate for an investment in and return of passenger rail service to the Tri-State area.
For more information, visit www.bringrail.com.
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