Illinois High-Speed Rail Commission
We are happy to share that a bill (HB399) that would create a High-Speed Railway Commission in Illinois is moving through the Illinois General Assembly. HB 399 was introduced by IL State Representative Martin Moylan and has now passed through the House and Senate Transportation Committees.
The bill is intended to create a commission that would be responsible for creating a statewide plan for a high-speed line and feeder network connecting Chicago to St. Louis, MO. It would be integrated with existing Amtrak and Metra services, intercity bus service and connect to the cities of Rockford, Moline, Peoria and Decatur.
If passed, the Commission would conduct a ridership study and shall make findings and recommendations concerning a governance structure, the frequency of service, and implementation of the plan. The Commission would provide yearly reports and be assisted by the Department of Transportation.
This would be an incredibly important step forward for high-speed rail in Illinois. It’s also an example of what other states throughout the country can do to prepare for high-speed rail. It’s critical that states have a detailed plan for an integrated network in order to tap into federal funds when they become available and to be able to move quickly to start construction.
Our members have long pushed for Illinois to create a transportation system that meets the economical and environmental challenges of the 21st century. This starts with a statewide plan for modernizing intercity trains, commuter trains, transit systems and buses—and integrating them into a robust, connected network.
We are excited by this effort, which takes a big picture approach to planning intercity passenger rail and integrating transit systems to bring more value to the network.