The Illinois Department of Transportation is considering two options for a high-speed rail line between St. Louis and Granite City.
It’s part of a broader high-speed rail corridor between St. Louis and Chicago that’s aimed at shortening commute times between the two cities.
Construction is already underway on rail improvements between Alton and Joliet. But Congress hasn’t issued federal funding yet to build a high-speed rail line between St. Louis and Illinois. IDOT is taking the preliminary steps to apply for the federal money.
Illinois and the federal government have approved an environmental impact statement for the high-speed rail line under construction between Chicago and St. Louis.
The review is an important step because it identifies a route through Springfield that would end a dispute that had threatened to hold up the project.
It also recommends a route around some of the congested tangle of rail lines between Chicago and suburban Joliet. Upgrades to that suggested corridor would be $500 million cheaper than the existing route because fewer overpasses would be needed.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was on board Friday when an Amtrak train reached speeds of 111 mph for the first time along a Chicago to St. Louis route. The train hit the mark on a stretch between Dwight and Pontiac before braking back to normal speeds of 79 mph. By the end of November, paying passengers will get to experience the higher speeds on that initial section between Dwight and Pontiac.
State and federal officials held a meeting in Alton Thursday on plans to upgrade train tracks between St. Louis and Chicago to allow for high-speed service.
Work is already underway to improve tracks and road crossings in Illinois to allow for higher-speed trains three times per day. But Mike Garcia with the Illinois Department of Transportation says officials want to be able offer more service through their partner, Amtrak.
Good morning! Here are a few of today's starting headlines:
Missouri to apply for high-speed rail funding
The State of Missouri will apply for federal funding to construct high-speed rail service between the state's two metropolitan areas. Gov. Jay Nixon is scheduled to announce details of the application during a 10 a.m. news conference at the Kirkwood Amtrak station in suburban St. Louis. Nixon's office says the application will include a proposal for immediate upgrades to improve speeds on existing lines between St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.