State and local officials are coming out in support of choosing a plan to bring passenger rail service back to
Last month, Amtrak and IDOT officials announced the results of a feasibility study which narrowed the options down to three. Now it's up to local leaders to reach a consensus, but it seems they have different ideas about how to do it.
The old Black Hawk line that provided Amtrak service until 1981, runs from
While some local leaders say the old Black Hawk line is the best option, one county board member says it would be more viable to pick a line that in the future could be used by both Amtrak and Metra.
"I think it's worth looking at if we can pick one route that may cost a little bit more now but will be ready to go, rather than spending a lot now and coming back later and trying to get more money from them again," said Winnebago County Board Member Phillip Johnson.
The route Johnson is trying to rally support around would run through
"They're estimating that the straight Amtrak route would cost $23 million. Now the one that would go further north would cost $31 million, and I think for the small amount of money difference we would then have a route both of them can use," said Johnson.
Meanwhile, State Representative Chuck Jefferson is trying to pass legislation that would allow the Rockford Airport Authority to also become a Railroad Authority.
Johnson would like to see County Board Chairman Scott Christensen call a meeting of all interested parties to decide on one route that can be used by Amtrak and commuter rail service. IDOT is expected to hold a meeting later this month to announce a decision.