Amtrak in Ill. to Get $80M in Funds

Amtrak in Illinois will receive $80 million in federal stimulus money to modernize train repair centers as well as to improve security and wheelchair accessibility, Sen. Dick Durbin said in a statement Wednesday.

The Illinois Democrat, a longtime advocate of passenger train service, said the money is the state's cut of the $1.3 billion set aside for Amtrak in the federal stimulus bill.

Durbin also says federal authorities are allotting $90 million to refurbish train cars for use around the country, including in Illinois.

More than a dozen states, including Illinois, are competing for a piece of a separate $8 billion for high-speed rail in the stimulus bill. That money hasn't yet been allocated.

Amtrak ridership in fiscal year 2008 increased to 28,716,407, marking the sixth straight year of gains and setting a record for the most passengers using Amtrak trains since the National Railroad Passenger Corporation started operations in 1971.

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