The Illinois Department of Transportation is inviting the public to comment and offer suggestions on a new study assessing the state’s rail system. The goal of the study is to seek input on current conditions, capacity concerns and safety challenges to help identify potential improvements and solutions.
Comments will be collected through June 14 via illinoisrailneeds.org which includes a short video, informational displays and a link to a survey.
The information gathered will be used in the development of a statewide rail plan, a requirement of states seeking federal funding under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act. It also will serve to inform IDOT’s ongoing Illinois Long-Range Transportation Plan, providing strategic direction for the development of the state’s transportation system. Illinois is the rail hub of North America, the only state in which all seven Class 1 railroads operate. Illinois boasts more than 10,000 miles of track and serves a robust passenger rail network, with Amtrak connecting 30 communities statewide and Metra operating 11 lines in the Chicago area.
Under Gov. JB Pritzker’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital program, Illinois is making historic investments in both passenger and freight rail, including $500 million to re-establish passenger rail to the Quad Cities and Rockford, $400 million for the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation and Efficiency (CREATE) Program, $100 million for improvements to improve safety and reliability on Amtrak’s Saluki service between Chicago and Carbondale, and $78 million to upgrade rail crossings and improve safety throughout the state.