IL commits to help QC Amtrak service

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The state of Illinois has been battling budget issues for a while now.

But on Tuesday, the Quad Cities got some good news about the direct passenger rail service from the Quad Cities to Chicago.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says once the state passes a budget, they’ll provide the $85 million to help with the project.

Quad City leaders say getting this Amtrak service up and running is a priority.

While Governor Rauner announced he is committed to the service, Quad City leaders say there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.

“It’s a huge deal for the Quad Cities,” said Henry Marquard, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce spokesperson.

It’s a project that’s been in the works since 2010.

Marquard says a passenger rail service from the Quad Cities to Chicago is a win for everyone.
There’s both state and federal funding tied to the project.
Last year, the project went off the tracks.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner froze the money authorized by the state after taking office.

“As we’ve seen that project getting held up it has been very very disappointing and very frustrating for the community,” said Marquard.

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos says there’s $177 million federal grant dollars at stake.
The deadline of that grant is June 30th of this year.

“If the Governor continued to sit on this and had we not literally dragged him across the finish line that money would had gone away,” said Rep. Bustos.

Bustos says it’s now time to work with the Federal Railroad Administration to make sure they extended the grant deadline.

Moline’s City Administrator Lew Steinbrecher says the Illinois budget impasse hasn’t stop them from working.

“The city has continued to work on the $10 million TIGER grant, the federal grant that we’ve received to build the station. We’re moving forward with that,” said Steinbrecher.

And while there’s still a chance the grant won’t be extended he remains hopeful.

“I think now it’s a matter of time, not if, but when,” said Steinbrecher.

Steinbrecher says they hope the have the multi-modal station up and running next year.
He says there is no timeline on when the Amtrak service would be up and running.
Steinbrecher says that all depends on when Illinois passes a budget.

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