Durbin wants Illinois' needs part of passenger rail bill
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) called on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on Wednesday to include several high-priority Illinois items in its Passenger Rail Reauthorization legislation.
Several noteworthy concerns also were raised by Durbin regarding similar legislation passed by the House earlier this year that would significantly impact the state's passenger rail system.
“Five million people boarded or exited Amtrak trains in Illinois last year, with over 31 million passengers annually passing through Chicago’s Union Station,” Durbin said in a letter to the committee. “Amtrak needs federal assistance to maintain and build on these recent achievements, yet the House bill reduces Amtrak’s authorized funding levels by 40 percent. I am concerned that the authorization levels in the House bill are insufficient and limit the potential investment in Amtrak in future years. I encourage you to include robust authorization levels to ensure Amtrak can grow and expand across the country, especially in Illinois.”
Durbin also expressed concern regarding a proposal that would separate the Northeast Corridor from the rest of Amtrak’s nationwide network.
“Severing the Northeast Corridor from the rest of America’s passenger rail network would put the popular corridor service in the Midwest, especially in Illinois, in jeopardy,” Durbin said in the letter.