Illinois examines next phase, 220-mph high speed rail

Illinois will be examining the next phase of high-speed rail through a new study group that includes the University of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation and private sector. The group is looking at the feasibility of 220-mph passenger rail service between Chicago, Urbana-Champaign and beyond. Currently, the state is building a 110-mph rail network that will expand service between Chicago and much of the Midwest.

The Governor and state officials hope that by maintaining Illinois leadership role in transportation infrastructure the state will be able to promote economic and job growth. The study will explore the establishment of 220-mph service between O’Hare International Airport, downtown Chicago, McCormick Place, and Champaign-Urbana. It will also look at extending the corridor in the region to cities south of Champaign-Urbana, including St. Louis and Indianapolis.

Leading the study will be University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Their findings are expected to be complete and presented to Governor Quinn in late 2012. The study is funded through a $1.25 million contribution from the Illinois Jobs Now! in-state capital program. Illinois Jobs Now! has also made contributions to the current high-speed rail initiatives throughout Illinois. Researchers will provide recommendations for location, ridership, economic impact, overall cost and financing options.

“Illinois is leading the nation with our work to expand high-speed and passenger rail,” said Governor Quinn. “This study will provide greater insight into how we can make 220-mph rail service a reality. An expanded and improved rail network will boost our position in the global economy and create thousands of jobs.”

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