We achieved an important milestone last week. Governor Quinn signed HB4078, which allows the Illinois Toll Highway Authority to use all of its existing powers to construct railroad tracks. Now, Illinois has an entity that can assemble right-of-way, design the civil works, issue bonds and manage the construction of high-speed tracks.
For the past year, this bill has been one of our top priorities, due to its wide range of benefits. In addition to Governor Quinn, we want to thank Representative Winters and Senator Sandoval for their leadership in this effort.
At the signing ceremony, the governor chose to take time out of his schedule to have an impromptu policy discussion. He highlighted the need to connect Rockford to O’Hare and downtown Chicago with high-speed rail. The next step is for the Toll Authority to conduct a feasibility study of the O’Hare – Rockford segment of the overall network.
Meanwhile, the Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and United States Departments of Transportation (DOTs) will be holding public meetings soon to solicit public comment to inform their long-term plan for the Detroit – Chicago corridor.
We believe that this is a valuable opportunity to design a truly high-volume, high-speed segment of track that can be the foundation for future high-speed trains to all points east of Chicago.
You can get the dates and locations for the public meetings here:
Also, please check out our recent blog post highlighting the benefits of the new 125-mph locomotives that Illinois and other states are about to purchase.