rockford train 092520ROCKFORD – State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) announced today that his push to restore passenger rail between Rockford and Chicago is gaining speed now that the Illinois Department of Transportation has reached an agreement to hire a project manager.

“Passenger rail service to and from Chicago holds tremendous potential for economic growth and enhanced quality of life in the Rockford area," Stadelman said. "People across northern Illinois are excited about the prospect of a rail link with Chicago, and I think it’s important to keep everyone fully informed and to include as much public input as possible."

Under the contract, WSP USA assumes responsibility for managing the project overall with the ability to hire other companies as subcontractors to complete the work. IDOT, meanwhile, has begun discussions with key stakeholders including host railroads Metra and Union Pacific to determine the necessary improvements to bring passenger rail back to Rockford.

"A strong passenger rail network is a cornerstone of our commitment to building and maintaining a safe, reliable multimodal system of transportation that serves all residents throughout our state,” Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said.

With the WSP USA agreement in place, preliminary engineering and environmental analysis are among the next steps before final design and construction. IDOT will negotiate construction and maintenance agreements with Union Pacific and Metra.

Stadelman secured $275 million in funding for the rail project as part of the Rebuild Illinois statewide construction program. A spokesperson for IDOT said the project is fortunate to have avoided delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic.