Illinois’ high-speed rail initiative received a boost last week when the state learned it would receive another $42 million in rail funding, making the most of Wisconsin and Ohio’s rejection of $1.2 billion in high-speed rail money from the federal government.
With newly elected Republican governors who oppose high-speed rail in both states, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the Obama administration was taking away the money from the two states and awarding it to 12 others, including Illinois, California and Florida.
High-speed rail work in Illinois began in September when Union Pacific railroad crews began upgrading 90 miles of Union Pacific track from just north of Alton to just south of Springfield, as well as just north of Springfield to south of Lincoln in Elkhart, for high-speed rail.
The first phase of construction on a $1.2 billion high-speed rail corridor between St. Louis and Chicago reached Logan County in November, and The Courier recently caught up with Union Pacific crews as they were preparing to close up shop for the winter in Elkhart.
“I’ve worked for 37 years with Union Pacific Railroad, and this is one of the most fun projects I’ve ever done,” said Union Pacific foreman Deland Humphries.
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