Illinois joins Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Compact

CLEVELAND, January 5 -- On November 30, the Illinois Senate gave its final, unanimous approval to the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Compact, a plan to create railroad jobs and to expand passenger rail service in the Midwest. It is expected that Governor Rod Blagojevich will sign the measure with in the next 60 days.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen was one of the primary supporters of the compact and worked to get the bill passed.

“This piece of legislation will help to expand passenger rail transportation in the Midwest,” BLET Illinois State Legislative Board Chairman Ed Way said. “We are happy that the Illinois state legislature has voted to join the compact.”

In the Illinois House, Representative Kathy Ryg (the chief sponsor of the bill in the House) and the House’s other chief co-sponsors — Representatives Elaine Nekritz, Paul Froehlich, Karen May and Dave Winters — shepherded HB 4344 through the House during the first week of that state''''s fall legislative veto session.

Senate Transportation Chair Tony Muñoz was the bill’s primary sponsor in the Senate, and the co-sponsors included Senators Dale Risinger, Debbie Halvorson, Larry Bomke and John Sullivan. In all, 49 House members and 24 Senate members signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation.

“I would like to congratulate Brother Way and all of the BLET members in Illinois who worked diligently to get this legislation passed,” BLET Vice President and National Legislative Representative John P. Tolman said.

MIPRC’s current members are Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and Ohio. The main purposes of the compact are to:

  • Promote, coordinate and support regional improvements to passenger rail service

  • Promote both current improvements and long-range plans for intercity passenger rail service in the Midwest.

  • Coordinate interaction among Midwestern state officials, and between the public and private sector at all levels (federal, state and local).

    Friday, January 5, 2007

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