WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–June 23, 2011. Citing a successful meeting that resulted in an agreement between major stakeholders in the Springfield rail consolidation effort, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today proposed a second meeting to clear up recent confusion about cost estimates and bring all parties back on the same page. Durbin also announced that he would be extending invitations to other members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation to discuss federal financing options and challenges.
Durbin sent today’s letter to Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary, Gary Hannig; Federal Railroad Administration, Joe Szabo; the CEOs of the three major railroads Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and Canadian National; Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman; Sangamon County Board Chairman Andy Van Meter; Springfield Mayor Mike Houston; and representatives from Hanson Engineering.
[The full text of today’s letter is below]
I am writing to request your participation in a meeting to discuss possible rail consolidation in Springfield. As you may know, there have been several conflicting accounts regarding the size, scope and price of rail consolidation options currently under review. This meeting will hopefully clear up any confusion and help local leaders make the best decisions regarding future rail consolidation projects.
Two years ago, many of us gathered for a similar meeting with the goal of finding a path forward on Springfield rail consolidation. That meeting was helpful in keeping all of the parties at the table and ultimately resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding between the State, Sangamon County and the City of Springfield on studying rail consolidation in Springfield. That agreement called for the environmental and alternatives studies of Springfield rail consolidation to be completed before April 2012, a deadline that will likely be met according to federal officials.
I am requesting participation from FRA, IDOT, the railroads and Amtrak to make sure all of us fully understand the positions of these critical stakeholders. Hearing from all parties will give us a clear understanding of the stakeholders’ positions and afford us the opportunity to ask critical questions about their role in the rail consolidation projects under review. I will also be reaching out to other members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation asking them to join us and discuss federal financing options and challenges.
My office will be in touch to schedule a meeting.
Richard J. Durbin