Congresswoman Asks Rauner to Release Funding for New Amtrak Line

Rep. Cheri Bustos penned a letter to the governor asking him to release funding for a high-speed rail line between Chicago and the Quad-Cities

Rep. Cheri Bustos wrote a letter to Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday asking him to release previously approved state funding for a Chicago to Quad-Cities Amtrak line.

Rauner used an executive order last May to halt the project’s funding.

“I ask you to establish a timeline on which you will conclude your administration’s review of the Chicago to Quad-Cities passenger rail project and share that timeline publicly,” Bustos wrote to the governor. “Additionally, I urge you to ultimately release the state funds to make this project a reality.”

Federal funding for the project has already been secured. According to Bustos’ letter, since 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $177 million to the Illinois Department of Transportation to fund the project.

The congresswoman claims the new rail service “will create hundreds of jobs and provide a big boost to the region and Illinois’ economy.”

She also claims the rail service is a much-needed resource for residents of central and western Illinois.

“Since taking office in 2013, I have met with business leaders, elected officials and hard working families in communities across central and western Illinois,” Bustos wrote. “In these meetings, I have heard from countless people how important it is to follow through on the promise of connecting the Quad-Cities and Chicago with passenger rail service.”

Bustos, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, also notes that the federal extension for the state to use the funds allocated for the project is set to expire at the end of June.

Rauner’s executive order served as a review of state spending and looked to ensure that taxpayer money was being spent on essential services.

"The project remains under review due to the Governor's Executive Order to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely,” Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said in a statement.

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