Gov. Pat Quinn in Rockford Thursday to make major Amtrak announcement

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn
  • Quinn will hold a press conference at 3:15 p.m., today, at 502 S. Main St., the former Tapco site, just south of the Amerock building.

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

Gov. Pat Quinn (D) will be in Rockford Thursday, April 10, to announce the city’s share of a $222 million project that would increase passenger rail service between Chicago and the Quad Cities.

Reports of Quinn’s arrival came Wednesday, as Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) wrapped his State of the City Address at the Coronado with a promise that an announcement about Rockford’s Amtrak station was “coming soon.”

According to sources, Quinn’s announcement will be about more than just rail subsidies. Officials have reportedly scrapped a plan to make Rockford a stop on a southern Canadian National route, as initially pushed by city leaders. Instead, Rockford and Belvidere will be stops along a northern route from Chicago to Dubuque, Iowa on tracks owned by Union Pacific.

The new Amtrak station will be built at 815 S. Main St., downtown.
The new Amtrak station will be built at 815 S. Main St., downtown.

The new route will send the train through centrally located McHenry County creating what officials hope to be steady influx of downtown activity. Amtrak is expected to be a key component in both the Amerock and Ingersoll redevelopment projects.

Monday, April 7, the City Council approved the plan to turn the Amerock building into a 150-room hotel and convention center. The proposal to transform the nearby Ingersoll building into a 104,000-square-foot sports complex is still pending. The matter will reportedly be up for a city council vote in coming weeks.

In 2012, Rockford received $5 million in state and federal funds toward the Amtrak project. The total cost was estimated at around $60 million.

The amount of additional subsidies has not been released. Funds are part of Quinn’s six-year, $8.6 billion construction plan aimed to improve roads and bridges and establish passenger rail service between Chicago and Moline, Ill.

The new Amtrak station will be at 815 S. Main St., where the old Black Hawk line provided passenger service from 1974-81. The depot then sat vacant until it was demolished in 2011.

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