Wednesday, January 04, 2012

LaHood grants Illinois funds for HrSR

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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Wednesday formally awarded more than $186 million to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) for its higher-speed rail project (HrSR), saying the project will reduce travel times and put Americans back to work this spring.

“The Great Lakes-Midwest economic region is the world’s fifth largest economy by Gross Domestic Product, and nearly 100 million people live within 500 miles of each other,” said LaHood (pictured at left). “The Department of Transportation’s investment of more than $1 billion in the region’s high speed rail service will reduce trip times and save travelers money, resulting in reduced congestion for the region and making the Midwest a better place to start a business and create jobs.”

The project will extend construction along the St. Louis-Chicago rail route north to Joliet, Ill., allowing for 110-mph service along nearly 70% of the line. DOT says travel time will be reduced by more than one hour, and notes Amrak ridership between the two cities has increased 137% in the past five years.

LaHood said the route will also benefit from next-generation American-made trains, funded as part of a previously announced $782 million grant intended to promote domestic manufacturing. .