Lawmakers Mull East-West Amtrak Route Across Illinois

Republican State Sen. Dan Moffitt said route would be an important link for college students

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    State lawmakers are backing the creation of an east-west passenger rail corridor across Illinois.

    The Illinois House unanimously approved a non-binding resolution Monday endorsing a possible Amtrak route from the Quad Cities in the west to Danville in the east.

    The route would include stops in Galesburg, Peoria, Bloomington-Normal and Champaign-Urbana and connect already existing stretches of track, the Pantagraph of Bloomington reported.

    No cost estimate was discussed, but legislators are being asked to approve $42 million for passenger rail service between Chicago and St. Louis and Chicago and Carbondale. A 2008 law passed by Congress shifted most of the costs for shorter routes from the federal government to states.

    State Rep. Don Moffitt, a Republican from Gilson, is sponsoring the proposal that he says would provide an important link for college students.

    Supporters said the line would also offer more residents of the state an alternative to driving.

    "It is truly the education corridor," said state Rep. Norine Hammond, a Republican from Macomb.

    The state's current Amtrak lines run from northern Illinois to southern and southwestern parts of the state between Chicago and the cities of Quincy, St. Louis and Carbondale.