High Speed Rail Commission passes both Chambers

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Senator Mike Jacobs (D-Moline) has co-sponsored legislation that will create the Midwest Illinois High Speed Rail Commission. This bill has passed both the House and the Senate and now goes to the Governor for his consideration.

"This process will allow Illinois to start working towards public-private partnerships to implement high speed rail," said Senator Jacobs.  "In addition, this Commission will guide current and future High Speed Rail projects."

House Bill 1966 creates a commission that will be responsible for preparing and issuing a report to the Governor, the General Assembly, and the public recommending the best way to implement a public-private partnership design to  uild, operate, maintain, and finance a high-speed rail system for Illinois.

The report must include specific recommendations for legislation or specific administrative regulations to implement the recommended high-speed rail system. In addition, the report will include recommendations for sources for funding a high-speed rail system.  These will include both private sources of capital and revenue bonds. The Commission will also include recommendations for integrating the

high-speed rail system into existing Amtrak expansions, airports, and public transportation systems.

Finally, the Commission is responsible for developing a process to receive public and stakeholder opinions, soliciting and receiving formal testimony from other states and global high-speed rail operators (including Amtrak), and work collaboratively with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) on any planning projects for high-speed rail.

Funding for this Commission will come from IDOT funds that are currently allotted in the budget. This act will set to sunset on January 1, 2015, at which time it will be determined by the General Assembly if the Commission needs more time or should be disbanded because it has fulfilled its duties.