SPRINGFIELD, April 25 — State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford), a new member of the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission, continues to make the case for restoring passenger rail service to Rockford.
“I believe passenger rail, whether it’s Amtrak or an alternative service, is far too important for northern Illinois to be sidetracked by ideology or partisan politics,” Stadelman wrote in a guest column for the Rockford Register Star this weekend. “While the Legislature has appropriated capital money that could be used to improve the rail line for passenger and freight service, it’s a governor’s discretion to use it. And a new capital plan will likely be discussed this spring. Instead of debating the previous administration’s plans and motives, let’s focus on convincing the new governor why restoring passenger rail in northern Illinois should be a priority for the state.”
The Rockford Register Star’s editorial board made a similar plea over the weekend to energize the movement — by referring to former Chicago Rockford International Airport Bob O’Brien’s effort in 2003 to raise $250,000 for a marketing fund to bring air passenger service to Rockford. He drew that and more in just 20 days by standing on a gas station roof and making other high profile appearances.
“Instead of writing letters or emails or making calls to the governor, what about an O’Brien-style campaign in which rail advocates raise money to show the governor how serious we are about being getting aboard the rail initiative?”