2 years, 4 months ago by Bob Gough
Group gathers in Galesburg to tout benefits of the region's freight and passenger rail service
Several West-Central Illinois mayors and other officials gathered in Galesburg today to tout the area's rail service.
The grouping included Senator John Sullivan, Galesburg Mayor Sal Garza, Monmouth Mayor Rod Davies, Macomb Mayor Mike Inman, Quincy Mayor John Spring, Representative Norine Hammond, Rep. Don Moffitt and Tom Carper, former mayor of Macomb and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Amtrak
All spoke about the positive effect freight and passenger rail have in their communities and in the region.
“Railroads are an economic lifeline for western Illinois,” said Sullivan, a Rushville Democrat. “Rail travel is booming, and communities all across the region are feeling the positive effects. Investments in rail foster economic development in our local communities, transporting goods, freight, and people to and from western Illinois.”
Western Illinois University in Macomb, Knox College in Galesburg, Quincy University, and Monmouth College are all served by Amtrak passenger rail. The mayors of these communities all spoke to the positive impact this service has in their towns, as well as the importance of this service to students traveling to attend these schools.
“Amtrak and the state of Illinois have had a good working relationship since 1971,” said Carper. “After the legislature and IDOT decided in 2006 to double the service in Illinois, we’ve seen solid increases in Amtrak ridership in this state. We continue to work with the state of Illinois to bring quality economic development and tourism to the west central region, and our relationship grows stronger every day with the capital improvements that have been completed and those now underway.”
Rep. Moffitt (R–Galesburg) brought together legislators, mayors, and economic development experts to create a regional Amtrak corridor coalition to promote economic development, tourism and educational opportunity along the Chicago-Quincy rail corridor.
Ridership on the Chicago-Quincy corridor has nearly doubled since 2006 and continues to increase each year, with 3% growth from 2011 to 2012. Illinois boasts the nation’s second largest rail system.
“Amtrak represents a tremendous asset and amenity and not only facilitates transportation but promotes tourism and commerce through the thousands of business travelers coming to our communities each year,” said Mayor Garza.