ROCKFORD (WREX) — The long-awaited Chicago-Rockford passenger rail project has moved to its next phase.
Democratic Senator Steve Stadelman, of Rockford, announced the Illinois Department of Transportation has reached an agreement to hire a project manager.
“Passenger rail service to and from Chicago holds tremendous potential for economic growth and enhanced quality of life in the Rockford area," Stadelman said. "People across northern Illinois are excited about the prospect of a rail link with Chicago, and I think it’s important to keep everyone fully informed and to include as much public input as possible."
Under the contract, WSP USA assumes responsibility for managing the project overall with the ability to hire other companies as subcontractors to complete the work. IDOT, meanwhile, has begun discussions with key stakeholders including host railroads Metra and Union Pacific to determine the necessary improvements to bring passenger rail back to Rockford.
"A strong passenger rail network is a cornerstone of our commitment to building and maintaining a safe, reliable multimodal system of transportation that serves all residents throughout our state,” Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said.
$275 million is earmarked to bring rail back to the forest city after Governor JB Pritzker announced the project last year.
The plan is to get an Amtrak line with stops in Belvidere, Rockford, Huntley, Elgin and Chicago. IDOT was looking to hire a project manager since last December.