Gov. Rauner’s spending freeze results in ‘review’ of Quad City Amtrak project

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Gov. Bruce Rauner's spending freeze resulted in the Illinois Department of Transportation reviewing plans to bring passenger trains to the Quad Cities.

In May of 2014, Paul Rumler, executive director of the QC Passenger Rail Coalition, said he expected passenger train service to be available in the Quad Cities in 2016, and the hotel and train station in Moline would be finished by November 2015.

Those plans are currently under review after Gov. Rauner signed an executive order for state agencies to halt nonessential spending, putting state contract activity on pause until July 1.

"We believe the project will be released and things will move ahead and be right on track," said Scott Vandewoestyne, director of government affairs for the Quad Cities Chamber.

Vandewoestyne said the governor is reviewing the benefits of various statewide projects, and he believes the rail-passenger service will gain the governor's approval.

Charles Lahl and his father own Dead Poet's Espresso in downtown Moline and said they were counting on gaining more customers from the Amtrak's Quad-City stop.

"It would really be a good overall improvement to help attract extra customers who don't usually get here."

In addition to the passenger-rail project, the governor is reviewing the proposed direct flight from the Quad City International Airport to Washington D.C..

2 comments

  • Julie

    Typical. When a Republican governor takes office, train funding is one of the first cuts. That’s because improved rail is viewed as competition to entrenched Republican interests in the form of road building, trucking, businesses typically located along highways, oil interests…to name a few.

    That’s politics.

  • D. P. Lubic

    The highway system hemorages money far more than Amtrak does. Nationally, we spend more on highways in one year than we have on Amtrak for over 40 years! That’s the subsidy level–not what you pay in gas taxes.

    Your gas taxes only pay about half the cost of the highway system.

    Funny that airports and planes get subsidized, that your gas taxes only pay for about 50% of the highway system, but a railroad has to make a profit.

    Even Amtrak, with all the problems it has, manages an operating cost recovery ratio (not including capital costs) in excess of 90%.

    Does the term “double standard” sound familiar?

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