Full speed ahead?

Rauner puts brakes on Amtrak line

By Shane Nicholson
Managing Editor

ROCKFORD – As part of a review of all statewide discretionary spending projects, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office announced that the proposed Amtrak line from Chicago to Rockford has been placed on hold.

The $223 million project greenlighted by former Gov. Pat Quinn called for stops at Elgin, Huntley and Belvidere before reaching a new downtown train station at Davis Park, adjacent to the Amerock building.

“Major construction projects at IDOT, including the proposed Rockford service, are on pause and under review,” said IDOT in a statement released last Thursday.

IDOT reports that over $3 million in state funds has been spent on engineering projects related to the new line. Construction on the rail line has not begun.

Plans called for a temporary station to be opened in Rockford by the end of 2015 with a single daily round trip to Chicago’s Union Station.

Rauner’s office has not confirmed if the rail project is on hold pending a final review or if it intends to kill the project entirely.

“It’s something we’re going to look at,” said Rauner during a speech at Rockford Airport last week.

“We want to invest in infrastructure and make sure it’s excellent and I want to make sure we have an outstanding rail system. That’s one of many initiatives we will be vaulting and looking for ways to support.”

shane.nicholson@rockrivertimes.com | @ofvoid

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