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Passenger Rail Feasibility Study

A study to determine the feasibility of passenger rail from Rockford, IL to Dubuque, IA kicked off on Friday, March 12. The Chamber has long supported a rail connection between Dubuque and Rockford – which would then connect through to Chicago. The Chamber is participating in the study as a stakeholder.

The Passenger Rail Feasibility Study work towards building a passenger rail transportation system that enhances to develop new regional passenger rail service to help to meet future travel demands in the Midwest generally and improve connectivity between Illinois and Iowa particularly. An efficient, fluid, and well-maintained transportation system is critical to the economic success and long-term sustainability of both states. Existing transportation infrastructure in Chicago, Illinois, western Illinois, and eastern Iowa is becoming more constrained, and it will not hold pace with growing, long-term demand. Capacity at Chicago’s two major airports – O’Hare and Midway – is compromised by the frequent arrival and departure of regional services.

The purpose and need of the Rockford – Dubuque High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program, which is in concert with the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, is to develop new regional passenger rail service to help meet future travel demands in the Midwest generally and improve connectivity between Illinois and Iowa particularly by connecting to Chicago to Rockford service.

The purpose of the Program is to re-establish passenger rail services from Chicago to Dubuque. The proposed Rockford to Dubuque service would be a component of the Chicago –Dubuque corridor, which is one part of the vision established by the MWRRI to expand existing and develop new regional passenger rail service to meet existing and future travel demands in the Midwest. This project will expand and create a rail transportation alternative to supplant private automobile, bus, and air travel between Chicago and Dubuque, and intermediate points, and to create new transportation opportunities and capability for people who cannot meet their transportation needs with private automobile, bus, and air modes.

This Plan will focus on the Dubuque County in Iowa, Jo Daviess, Stephenson, and Winnebago Counties in Illinois.

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