From the Illinois State Senate

State Senator John Sullivan, 47th Legislative District

For Immediate Release: September 27, 2012

Mayors, legislators tout increased ridership and economic benefits

SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville), alongside area mayors and legislators, today highlighted the importance of railroads to Western Illinois. Sen. Sullivan and Galesburg Mayor Sal Garza, Monmouth Mayor Rod Davies, Macomb Mayor Mike Inman, Quincy Mayor John Spring, Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb), Rep. Don Moffitt (R-Galesburg), and Tom Carper, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Amtrak, all spoke about the positive effect freight and passenger rail have in their communities and in the region.

"Railroads are an economic lifeline for western Illinois," said Sullivan. "Rail travel is booming, and communities all across the region are feeling the positive effects. Investments in rail foster economic development in our local communities, transporting goods, freight, and people to and from western Illinois."

Western Illinois University in Macomb, Knox College in Galesburg, Quincy University, and Monmouth College are all served by Amtrak passenger rail. The mayors of these communities all spoke to the positive impact this service has in their towns, as well as the importance of this service to students traveling to attend these schools.

"Amtrak and the state of Illinois have had a good working relationship since 1971," said Carper. "After the legislature and IDOT decided in 2006 to double the service in Illinois, we’ve seen solid increases in Amtrak ridership in this state. We continue to work with the state of Illinois to bring quality economic development and tourism to the west central region, and our relationship grows stronger every day with the capital improvements that have been completed and those now underway."

Rep. Don Moffitt (R–Galesburg) has been a legislative leader on rail issues in Springfield, consistently advocating for investments in rail infrastructure. He recently brought together legislators, mayors, and economic development experts to create a regional Amtrak corridor coalition to promote economic development, tourism and educational opportunity along the Chicago-Quincy rail corridor.

Illinois boasts the nation’s second largest rail system. Passenger rail is becoming an increasingly attractive option for Illinoisans and visitors alike. Ridership on the Chicago-Quincy corridor has nearly doubled since 2006 and continues to increase each year, with 3% growth between Fiscal Year 2011 and Fiscal Year 2012.

"Amtrak represents a tremendous asset and amenity and not only facilitates transportation but promotes tourism and commerce through the thousands of business travelers coming to our communities each year," said Mayor Garza. "I commend John Sullivan and the members of this passenger rail coalition for their leadership in supporting and growing the Amtrak advantage for our region."



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