State and Federal Officials Announce
Historic High-Speed Rail Agreement for Illinois
Cooperative Agreement Advances Construction and Safety Improvements on Chicago to St. Louis Corridor;
Will Create More Than 5,000 Jobs
CHICAGO – Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig today
announced that a historic public-private partnership agreement
on high-speed rail development is in place to bring Illinois one
giant step closer to achieving high-speed passenger service
between Chicago and St. Louis by 2014.
Governor Pat Quinn, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and U.S.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood together praised the signing
of the historic Cooperative Agreement by the federal government,
state government, Union Pacific Railroad, and Amtrak as a
crucial advance in the development of a planned high-speed
passenger rail network that will serve Illinois and the Midwest
“ Clearly, the leadership, perseverance and commitment of
Governor Quinn, Senator Durbin, and our private sector partners,
has vaulted Illinois into the lead on the development of
high-speed rail,” Secretary Hannig said. “This announcement is
about more than just an historic achievement for Illinois and
the Midwest. It is a celebration of the kind of partnership and
vision that is creating jobs now and providing needed access to
a crucial regional transportation alternative.”
In September 2010, Governor Quinn announced that Illinois had
become the first state in the nation to begin high-speed rail
construction through an initial agreement to upgrade 90 miles of
track between Alton and Lincoln. With the full Cooperative
Agreement now in place, construction will continue in early
spring from just south of Lincoln to Dwight. This phase of work
is expected to conclude next fall.
The next step would then be the installation of new, enhanced
grade crossing warning protection. The public can expect to
enjoy its first taste of 110 mile-per-hour train service when a
20-mile segment between Dwight and Pontiac is completed in 2012.
Procurement of new cars and locomotives, as well as station
upgrades, will be other facets of the project completed under
the Cooperative Agreement.
“It’s a wonderful day for Illinoisans as we celebrate a
milestone achievement towards becoming the first state in the
nation to bring high-speed rail to fruition,” Governor Pat Quinn
said. “We applaud the cooperation and hard work of all
participating agencies to bring high-speed rail service,
thousands of jobs, and economic growth to communities across the
“I'm proud that Illinois continues to lead the country in its
pursuit of high-speed rail service. This agreement marks one
more milestone in our quest to make safe, reliable, high-speed
rail service a reality in just a handful of years,” said U.S.
Senator Dick Durbin. “I want to commend Governor Pat Quinn and
IDOT Sec. Gary Hannig for their efforts to keep the Chicago-St.
Louis corridor on track, while other states have fallen behind.
The benefits of staying on deadline are great: as the project
advances, more jobs will be created and, with each step, we’re
closer to making Illinois more competitive in the 21st century
The Cooperative Agreement also outlines current plans for
110-mph high-speed rail service upon the completion of the
construction that began in September. The agreement calls for a
total of five daily round trips between Chicago and St. Louis,
including three daily high-speed round trips in the initial 2014
schedule — and confirms on-time performance expectations of at
least 80 percent for the service. Expected reductions in travel
time of as much as 48 minutes between Chicago and St. Louis are
also noted in the agreement, shortening the trip between the two
cities to as little as 4 hours, 32 minutes. Amtrak operates
passenger rail service along the route in cooperation with Union
Pacific, which owns the track.
“Congratulations to the State of Illinois, Union Pacific
Railroad, and Amtrak,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray
LaHood. “This agreement will ensure a strong performance for the
operation of high-speed passenger trains, while simultaneously
protecting, preserving and improving our world-class rail
"Our priority in working out this agreement was to protect Union
Pacific's ability to provide the exceptional freight service our
customers need and expect, while helping public agencies invest
in improved passenger service," said Jim Young, Union Pacific
chairman and chief executive officer. "This agreement allows us
to deliver on those customer commitments."
In January 2010, the Obama administration awarded Illinois more
than $1.2 billion in federal stimulus funds for high-speed
passenger rail projects, including corridor improvements on
Illinois’ signature route: Chicago to St. Louis.
For more information on Illinois and the other Midwestern states
regarding high-speed rail, go to