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City still has questions about high-speed rail

(The following article by M.K. Guetersloh was posted on the Bloomington Pantograph’s website on June 3.)

PONTIAC -- Resolutions supporting high-speed rail from Chicago to St. Louis were tabled by the Pontiac City Council at its meeting Monday.

Concerns about how Pontiac will benefit from the railroad upgrades established by the Illinois Department of Transportation in an effort to upgrade Amtrak service on the Chicago-to-St. Louis corridor kept council members from taking a vote on the two resolutions.

The resolutions, largely ceremonial, urge IDOT to place orders for high-performance train sets and pushes for Congress and the president to fully fund Amtrak.

"High speed rail certainly will benefit Springfield, Bloomington and Chicago, but I think what Pontiac will get out of this is fleeting," said Alderman John McGlasson.

Alderman Mike Fogarty said he was unclear about what Pontiac will be getting from the corridor. Both added that they believe in time the Pontiac stops could be eliminated to save Amtrak more time between Chicago and St. Louis.

In a another matter, the city will be adding a turn lane on Illinois 116 at Newport Road. The improvements at the intersection coincide with plans to further develop Newport Road.

The city's cost of the project, $20,200, will be paid for out of tax increment financing funds. The TIF funds are generated from a portion of the sales tax that is returned by the state to the city for development within the designated TIF district.

The council also learned that the project to repair the sidewalks on the Mill Street Bridge will start shortly after the June 14 weekend. Brian Fisher from the Farnsworth Group said the project is scheduled after the annual Hang-Loose Weekend, which includes a rubber duck race that starts from the bridge.

A request by a resident of the 100 block of West Grove to remove three walnut trees from their yard was tabled until the council could have a ruling on where the city right of way begins.

City Administrator Bob Karls said the situation requires council action because it appears the trees are on the property line.

Tuesday, June 3, 2003

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