7061 East Pleasant Valley Road, Independence, Ohio 44131 • (216) 241-2630 / Fax: (216) 241-6516

Membership
Benefits
News and Issues
Departments
Information
Secretary-Treasurer
Merchandise
Communications
FELA
Events
Links
User Info

Springfield rail talks continue, but 'substantive' differences remain

(The following story by Bruce Rushton appeared on the State Journal-Register website on November 13, 2009.)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — State and local leaders in Springfield are still meeting, but not reaching agreement, more than a month after Illinois asked for more than $4 billion in federal money to build a high-speed rail link between St. Louis and Chicago via the capital city.

The state wants to run high-speed passenger trains along Third Street, where Amtrak and the Union Pacific Railroad currently operate.

The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and local governments, including officials with the city of Springfield and Sangamon County, want train traffic consolidated along 10th Street, where the Norfolk Southern railroad now owns the right-of-way.

Sangamon County Board Chairman Andy Van Meter said he, Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin, Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig and senior staff members from the office of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, have been meeting weekly.

“The meetings have been positive, but we’re not there yet,” Van Meter said. “There’s some pretty substantive issues that are hanging us up.”

Van Meter declined to be more specific.

Local leaders have threatened to sue if the state goes forward with high-speed rail on Third Street.

The concern isn’t so much passenger trains, but additional freight traffic. The plan calls for installing a parallel track on a line that now has a capacity of 30 trains a day. A two-track corridor could handle as many as 75 trains a day, and Union Pacific, which now runs about a half-dozen freight trains on the route, has said it wants to boost that number to 22 trains a day.

Local officials are seeking a memorandum of understanding with IDOT in which the state would agree to put trains on 10th Street if that alignment proves affordable and environmental studies show it’s the best option.

“We are making progress and we are working diligently to move this forward,” said Marisa Kollias, IDOT spokeswoman. Christina Mulka, Durbin’s spokeswoman, said the senator is “encouraged” by progress made in the ongoing discussions.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, is watching. He is sponsoring a bill that would bar IDOT from spending any money, state or federal, on any high-speed rail project along Third Street. The bill is on hold while Hannig negotiates with local officials.

“We’ll continue to monitor the situation,” said Steve Brown, Madigan’s spokesman. “The speaker’s resolve is to get the issue worked out so it’s mutually acceptable to all elements.”

Monday, November 16, 2009

Like us on Facebook at
Facebook.com/BLETNational

Sign up for BLET News Flash Alerts

© 1997-2021 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

 


Decertification Helpline
(216) 694-0240

National Negotiations

Sign up for BLET
News Flash Alerts

DAILY HEADLINES

CP threatened lawsuit against safety watchdog after investigator spoke out about deadly crash
Fatal CP derailment prompts petitions urging Canadian government to end private railway policing
Promises made, promises kept: Hoffa addresses 30th International Convention
Biden lauds Hoffa, Teamsters for policy leadership
Teamsters announce coordinated nationwide project to unionize Amazon
Political efforts spell policy success for Teamsters
STB briefed on freight rail cybersecurity issues
Schumer urges feds to approve $3.4 million grant to expand Alstom manufacturing facilities
Amtrak’s new Baltimore tunnel to be named after Frederick Douglass
Connecticut rail plan aims to cut commuter travel time
RRB issues Form BA-6, statements of service
Unemployment and Sickness Benefit flexibilities under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA) during the COVID-19 virus outbreak
Get the latest labor news from the Teamsters

More Headlines