Illinois DOT leaders extend federal money for passenger rail project

CHICAGO, Illinois- There will be more time for leaders in Illinois to bring passenger rail service to the Quad Cities.

A spokesman for the Illinois DOT says it has reached an agreement with the Federal Railroad Administration to extend the Chicago to Moline passenger rail service grant agreement. The grant allows the state to use millions of dollars in federal money that would have expired Saturday, June 30. The grant lasts until June 30, 2019 now.

"The extension allows IDOT to continue working with the FRA and Iowa Interstate Railroad on preliminary engineering studies that will determine the full scope of improvements necessary to facilitate passenger trains between Wyanet and Moline," IDOT Director of Communications Guy Tridgell said Monday, June 25. "The current preliminary engineering activities include inspection and assessment of bridge structures and track conditions, grade crossing design, signal and systems design, and track rehabilitation planning."

There is no word when construction will start on the Wyanet to Moline part of the project, but negotiations with the Iowa Interstate Railroad have been a hold up so far.