Illinois lawmakers are exploring the idea of a new east-west passenger rail service that would pass through Normal's Uptown Station. (Photo by B Corbin/WJBC)
By Dave Dahl
SPRINGFIELD - Amtrak's friends in the Illinois legislature are pushing for a feasibility study to add even more passenger miles in the state.
“On any day, one-sixth of people who are on an Amtrak train are on an Amtrak train in Illinois,” the passenger railroad's governmental affairs director, Derrick James, said at a news conference with lawmakers and state transportation officials.
State Rep. Don Moffitt (R-Gilson) says the cities along Interstate 74 - Danville, Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal, Peoria, Galesburg, and the Quad Cities - might support inter-city service, based on the colleges and large employers in those cities.
“The first step would probably be a bus route,” says Moffitt, “which would then start building (to) see what the market is, how much demand there is. Other states have done that, where the bus route would come first, and then lead, in some cases, to actual passenger rail service.”