Earlier this month, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced a $223 million plan to restart Amtrak service between Chicago and Rockford.
Fortunately for area residents, Huntley will be included as a stop along the new route. Elgin and Belvidere also will be included on the route that would open Rockford to passenger rail service for the first time since 1981.
Service should begin in 2015, with one daily round-trip from a temporary station in Rockford to Chicago’s Union Station. The plan right now is to expand the service the following year, eventually connecting this route to Dubuque, Iowa.
This is a positive for the community at large, especially Huntley, which has been planning for a train stop since the 1990s. Huntley officials will meet with state officials to decide where the train station will be located.
Another mode of transportation for residents that currently isn’t available is a good thing. Driving to Chicago can be a real pain sometimes, so the opportunity to not deal with that kind of traffic to visit, shop or sightsee in the city is a sigh of relief for area residents.
The new Amtrak route is a part of Quinn’s $8.6 billion state-wide construction program announced earlier this month.
Although the project will be paid primarily through federal funds, about $1.5 billion of the state-wide construction program will come through state and local funds. We have questions about how that’s going to be paid for in a state with so many fiscal issues. But we’ll wait for those answers.
For now, area residents should be on board with this stop.