Houston, Other Central Illinois Mayors Discuss High Speed Rail
Those who support railroads are talking up their benefits to Illinois.
“Our trains serve many of our public and private university campus communities,” says Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. “In Macomb, home of Western Illinois University, the university has seen on-campus car registrations drop from 80 percent to 60 percent since they built a transit transfer center right across the street from the Amtrak station. And in Normal, where Illinois State University is located, the city’s new multi-modal station is the centerpiece of the community, and is has helped to leverage $200 million in private investment around that station.”
She was among the speakers at a roundtable discussion involving a congressional subcommittee.
Springfield Mayor Mike Houston talked about the efforts being made with high-speed rail and the amount of rail traffic goes through the city.
“Today there are 33 trains that pass through Springfield on a daily basis,” says Houston. “It is estimated that by the year 2030 that number will increase to 81 trains daily.”
Houston says most of those trains will be freight trains, which could be longer and heavier, further underscoring the need to upgrade and consolidate rail traffic through Springfield.
Champaign Mayor Don Gerard testified to the importance of improving rail stations in Illinois, especially with a large number of foreign students who need transportation to airports and Chicago.
“We’re the city that would be completely set up, prepared, have the money, the revenue sources, the credit and the partnerships to launch such a program, to have something like this be a complete success,” Gerard said.