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SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) that would create a commission to make a statewide network of new and existing passenger rail lines a reality passed committee on Tuesday.

“This measure would create a commission to help make a statewide network of high-speed rail services a reality,” Stadelman said. “Creating a high-speed rail network would provide a fast, safe and reliable way to travel across the state.”

The measure would create the High-Speed Railway Commission to assist the state and organizations like the High-Speed Rail Alliance, which produced a plan to create a high-speed rail from Chicago to St. Louis within the next 10 years, coordinate.

“Connecting Rockford to Chicago through rail has always been one of my top priories,” Stadelman said. “Investing in a network like this would further expand travel opportunities for the residents of Rockford and the rest of the state.”

The commission would also be tasked with producing an annual report for the General Assembly on potential plans for a high-speed rail line between Chicago and St. Louis, with connections to the cities of Rockford, Moline, Peoria and Decatur. The final goal is to modernize and integrate all train systems in Illinois into one connected high-speed rail network.

House Bill 399 passed the Senate Transportation Committee without opposition and now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.