Chamber campaign advocates for passenger rail service

Rockford Chamber of Commerce

ROCKFORD, Feb. 18 –The Rockford Chamber of Commerce’s Advocacy Center is running a letter-writing campaign asking state government leaders to end the suspension of restoring passenger rail service to Rockford.

Former Gov. Pat Quinn proposed spending $225 million on improvements to railroad tracks linking Rockford and Belvidere and allowing Amtrak service; new Gov. Bruce Rauner suspended that effort this year.

The letter says, in part, “This long-term collaborative project is critical to the economic recovery of the Rockford Region. The Rockford Region must compete with the boundary communities in the state of Wisconsin and Amtrak rail service differentiates our region, providing continuity in current downtown Rockford development.”

Recently, State Senator Steve Stadelman was appointed to serve on the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission, a key organization that advocates for passenger rail expansion throughout the region.

Stadelman has called a public forum at 2 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Zeke Giorgi Building, 200 S. Wyman, Rockford, to allow local leaders and supporters of passenger rail service to voice their support. Acting Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn and representatives from Amtrak and the Union Pacific Railway are expected to attend.

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