SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider, Springfield Mayor Michael J. Houston and Sangamon County Chairman Andy Van Meter today announced an Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement (IGA) to advance design work as a part of the 10th Street Railroad Consolidation Plan. Under the IGA, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will commit up to $8.65 million to support approximately half of the total design cost for the 10th street corridor rail improvements. The funding is a part of Governor Pat Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital program.
“Springfield is a vital connection for high-speed rail in Illinois,” Governor Pat Quinn said. “This commitment advances our work with cities along the Chicago to St. Louis Corridor to upgrade rail service, improve infrastructure for safer travel, and bring jobs and businesses to Illinois.”
“We are very pleased to have the full project commitment by Governor Quinn to improve rail service in Illinois,” said Secretary Schneider. “We have worked diligently with local officials to come to this agreement and look forward to the many positive results as we make high speed rail a reality in Illinois.”
“There is nothing more important to the long-term future of Springfield than where the high-speed railroad tracks go,” said Mayor Houston. “By moving the rail traffic from the 3rd Street tracks to the 10th Street Corridor, we will be using the safest corridor that provides the best east-west flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic and will eliminate the rest of the train whistles in Springfield after 3rd Street becomes a quiet zone.”
“I want to thank Secretary Schneider for her leadership and Governor Quinn for his advocacy in providing the initial funding for the design and engineering of the 10th Street Corridor. Today is an important day as we jumpstart the design process that will ultimately benefit our local families and small businesses from the jobs and investments that will be created by this project. It will provide an economic engine for development that will benefit East Springfield and the downtown in particular as well as the community as a whole,” Mayor Houston continued.
The 10th street corridor consolidation project through Springfield and the needed flyover project just south of Springfield are identified as part of the Chicago to St. Louis High-Speed Rail project. Currently, no funding has been identified for construction of these projects. The state of Illinois, however, is currently funding a detailed environmental analysis of the Springfield Flyover project. The project would include a new track alignment and railway flyover to grade separate the Union Pacific/Amtrak operations from the Norfolk Southern operations to eliminate train congestion and improve crossing delays for vehicular traffic.
The immediate improvements will include the 3rd Street corridor safety enhancements that will consist of four-quadrant crossing gates that will prevent cars from driving around lowered gates, as well as new grade crossing approaches, fencing and bridge upgrades to improve rail traffic flow and increase safety in the area until construction is complete on the 10th street corridor. These safety enhancements implemented through the High-Speed Rail program satisfy the requirements needed for the City of Springfield to be eligible to apply for a quiet zone. The 3rd street improvements are fully-funded by federal High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with additional contributions from the State of Illinois and Union Pacific Railroad (UP).
Chicago to St. Louis High-Speed Rail is intended to meet current and future regional travel needs through the implementation of major improvements to the level and quality of passenger rail service within the Chicago to St. Louis Corridor. Approximately $1.75 billion of improvements are being completed by IDOT, UP and the Federal Railroad Administration, pursuant to a Cooperative Agreement funded by ARRA.
For specific project information and business opportunities, please visit the project website, http://www.idothsr.org. Please call 1-855-IDOT-HSR (436-8477) with comments or questions. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/IllinoisHighSpeedRail.