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With time ticking, the State of Illinois commits to funding QC passenger rail

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It looks like the passenger rail line from the Quad Cities to Chicago is one step closer to reality.

Henry Marquard from the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce has confirmed that the State of Illinois said they will help fund the passenger rail. This announcement came Tuesday, June 21.  Funding for the project would be released once the state passes a budget.

"At this point they're saying Illinois is fully committed, what that means now without the progress that we should've had we still need the federal railroad administration to grant an extension on that," said Marquard.

Bidding for construction to begin inside the depot starts on June 22nd and the city said construction is set to begin on July 1st.

"It's encouraging because we didn't want to build a train station that was sitting there for years and years and years waiting for the trains," said Ray Forsythe, Planning and Development Director.

Previous reports indicate that millions of dollars in funding from the federal government was already approved.

The Federal Rail Administration was seeking a commitment by June 30, according to Marquard.   It is now up to the FRA to either approve or deny an extension on the funding that was offered for the project.

“The Illinois Department of Transportation has informed the Federal Railroad Administration that it will be proceeding with the proposal to reintroduce passenger rail service between Chicago and Moline," said a spokesperson from the Illinois Department of Transportation. "As we move forward, we remain strongly committed to looking out for the best interest of all Illinois taxpayers.”

Related: If Illinois doesn't act fast, QC will lose funding for passenger rail 

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos voiced her support for the passenger rail, and said that "every dollar spent on infrastructure creates about two dollars worth of new economic investment."

"By completing this project, we'll make our community more attractive to businesses while putting Illinoisans back to work," said Bustos.

Henry Marquard previously said that the federal funding would account for $177 million of the project.

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