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Could Rauner's Spending Hold Derail New Train Routes?

Amanda Vinicky
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Rail advocates are concerned Governor Bruce Rauner's executive order that puts a hold on non-essential state spending could be the end of the line for two projects that have been chugging along.

After long negotiations, Illinois has agreements to extend two passenger rail routes. One would to go Rockford, the other to the Quad Cities.

Little to no construction has been done on either so far, but head of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association Rick Harnish says 2015 was supposed to be the year.

Plans are full steam ahead for train stations, and a hotel has committed to building near one; but with Illinois' limited construction season, Harnish says, "further delays could be fatal."

"There's a number of issues like that that having it in limbo like this will cause issues. And so it needs to move forward very quickly," he said. "I'm talking days, but I'd be happy with weeks."

A spokesman from the Illinois Dept. of Transportation says major construction projects are on pause and under review.

There appear to be no expiration dates for the already-approved funding of either railway deal.

Copyright 2021 NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS. To see more, visit NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
Amanda Vinicky