Moline Mayor Optimistic About Amtrak Service

Moline (Illinois) Mayor Scott Raes is still optimistic that Amtrak service will eventually come to the Quad Cities region of Illinois and Iowa, but said making it happen by 2017 is going to be tough to pull off.

Raes said in his state of the city address that development of the Chicago-Quad Cities route has stalled due to a state budget stalemate. IllinoisThe Illinois General Assembly and Gov. Bruce Rauner are at odd over a budget for the current fiscal year.

The mayor noted that work has begun on renovating a hotel that will serve as the station for the route. That project is being funded by a federal TIGER grant.

But rebuilding the tracks to be used by the trains has yet to begin and the project is behind schedule.

“It does get frustrating because there are three players in this project,” Raes said. “One of the things we’re approaching now is we have to build the platform out to meet the [passenger] cars and until we know the height of the tracks, we don’t know where to go.”

Although the service was supposed to start in early 2017, that seems unlikely.

“I think it will be quite a challenge to hit the 2017 [target] although that’s certainly what we’re hoping for,” Raes said. “But, when you look realistically at where the project’s at, I think that would be a stretch.”

Raes doesn’t expect the state to give up on the project, saying the Illinois Department of Transportation is on board and its leaders are trying to work with the governor and lawmakers to make sure Amtrak and other transportation projects move forward.

“We can’t wait,” Raes said. “I think it will be a great revenue source.”

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