Peoria-Chicago Passenger Rail Project Takes Next Step Forward by  being Selected for FRA’s New Corridor Identification Designation Program

Designation includes funding for scope, schedule, and cost of passenger rail

Ottawa, IL (December 8, 2023) – Several area community representatives attended a press conference on Thursday, December 7th in Peoria announcing the designation and funding.  The press conference was hosted by Co-Chairs Peoria Mayor Rita Ali and former United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to announce the application for the Peoria-Chicago Passenger Rail Project submitted by the City of Peoria was selected for the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Corridor Identification Program. They were joined by representatives from Senator Durbin and Senator Duckworth’s offices, regional leaders, and members from the project leadership team.

The Corridor Identification and Development Program was created under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to develop passenger rail routes. ThePeoria-Chicago Passenger Rail Project will receive $500,000 to fund Step 1 of the Service Development Plan, in the Corridor Identification Program. The Service Development Plan will determine engineering and cost requirements. Mayor Ali remarked, “This effort started as a local project that grew into a regional project that became a state project and is now a federal project. This level of support and collaboration will help to achieve our goal of bringing Amtrak passenger rail to and from Peoria in the coming years. I’m very excited about this new development.”

Local leaders have been involved in the project since early 2022 and have been participating in meetings regularly. The proposed route begins at Peoria and runs through LaSalle-Peru, Utica, Ottawa, Morris, and Joliet, ending at Chicago’s Union Station. “The FRA Corridor Designation for Peoria, plus $500,000 will continue the momentum to bring passenger rail service to and from Peoria and Chicago,” said former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

To assist in moving this project forward, a local study is currently being completed to analyze potential station locations in LaSalle-Peru, Utica, Ottawa, and Morris. NCICG (North Central Illinois Council of Governments) received an IDOT Statewide Planning and Research (SPR) grant for this study. Each of the participating communities assisted in providing a local match.  This study is anticipated to be completed in the spring. 

More information about the Peoria-Chicago Passenger Rail project is available on the city of Peoria website.

The press conference can be viewed on the city of Peoria YouTube channel.