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Illinois Receives $186 Million High-Speed Rail Grant

The Illinois Department of Transportation, or IDOT, was awarded over $186 million Wednesday in order to fund its high-speed rail project.  Amtrak ridership has increased by 137% in the past five years between St. Louis and Chicago.  With the Great Lakes and Midwest economic region ranking as the world’s fifth largest economy by GDP, according to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, there has become an increased demand for faster and cheaper public transportation in the area.

The current plan for the construction project would extend the St. Louis to Chicago route further North to reach Joliet, IL.  About 70% of the track will also be able to accomodate high-speed trains that reach speeds of 110 miles per hour.  The Department of Transportation expects the project to decrease transportation times by more than one hour.  With an estimated 100 million people living within 500 miles of one another in the region, the route has become overly crowded, and the reduced travel time will be a welcome improvement for many.  LaHood and the Department of Transportation hope that this project will make the Midwest an even better region to start and grow businesses, which means more jobs as well.  Construction on the project is expected to begin in the Spring of 2012.

      

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