A long-time priority of the Quad Cities Chamber received a boost this week. The State of Illinois has told the Federal Railroad Administration it will proceed with the proposal to reintroduce passenger rail service between the Quad Cities and Chicago.

The U.S. Department of Transportation committed $177 million in funding to the project in 2010, but to utilize the funds the State of Illinois would need to affirm its commitment to providing matching dollars, which it has now done.

Passenger rail service from Chicago to the Quad Cities has long been a priority for our region. It will provide a recruitment tool for attracting students to our universities, give greater access and convenience for business travel, and provide a convenient mode of transportation for visitors.

We thank our Illinois state elected officials, specifically state Sen. Neil Anderson, Rep. Pat Verschoore, Rep. Mike Smiddy, and Rep. Don Moffitt, for their work in advancing passenger rail in the Quad Cities. We continue to stress the importance of passing a budget to provide much needed funds and assistance to the many other critical projects currently on hold throughout the state.

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