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Federal FAST Act Commitments Secured for Amtrak Route to the Quad Cities, and More

12:41 AM CDT on June 27, 2019

With new Amtrak service to the Quad Cities moving forward, can’t you almost taste the Quad Cities-style pizza? Photo: Martha Williams, Time Out Chicago

The recently passed Illinois capital bill included $225 million in state funding for for new Amtrak service from Chicago to the Quad Cities. Now there's more good news for Chicagoans who love malt-crust pizza cut into strips with scissors.

During a recent U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing on reauthorizing the FAST Act, Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth secured commitments for the Quad Cities route, plus other Illinois and national transportation projects, according to a report from Transportation Today.

“I’m glad these transportation leaders are committed to working with me on critical Illinois transportation initiatives, like advancing the Chicago-Quad Cities passenger rail project, improving Amtrak’s on-time performance, ending roadway deaths by 2050 and expediting the [U.S. Department of Transportation] report on expanding the TIFIA program to include eligible airport-related projects,” Duckworth said, according to the Transportation Today report.  “These initiatives are critical to making Illinois’ transportation systems safer and more reliable, and I look forward to working with these administrators to make sure they are completed as quickly as possible.”

During the hearing, Federal Railroad Administration administrator Ronald Batory helped the Quad Cities project by agreeing to facilitate the process of finalizing stakeholder agreements necessary for the initiative to move forward. He also committed getting the FRA more involved in efforts address delays on the Amtrak Saluki line to Champaign-Urbana.

According to the Transportation Today report, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration deputy administrator Heidi King Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration administrator Raymond Martinez voiced continuing support for the Vision Zero-style goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2050. That's a tall order, since there were 36,750 fatalities last year.

But the fact that the Quad Cities line will be expedited should be music to the ears of people who'd like to make a pilgrimage to Davenport, Iowa, the Quad Cities municipality that was home to 1920s jazz trumpet legend Bix Beiderbecke.

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