Transportation
6:54 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Amtrak Deal Keeps Trains Running In Illinois

Illinois has agreed to pay more for in-state Amtrak trains. The deal prevents a shutdown of rail service that could have happened as early as next week.

Illinois is the second-to-last state to reach an agreement with Amtrak.

The deal was necessary because of a federal law that requires states to pay more if they want to keep shorter-distance rail lines.

Some states, like California, will pay millions of extra dollars.

It will likely be much less in Illinois, which already pays for three of four lines -- those that connect Chicago with Carbondale, Quincy, and Wisconsin. While Illinois has also been paying for most of the Chicago-to-St. Louis route, now it'll pick up the entire tab.

Amtrak and the Illinois Department of Transportation confirmed the agreement Thursday.

Across the country, there are 28 of these short-haul train lines, and they account for more than half of Amtrak's passengers. States had until this month to make a deal or the trains would be halted, with workers laid off.

Nineteen states were affected. The lone holdout is Indiana, and its Chicago-to-Indianapolis Hoosier Line. A spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation says it's continuing to negotiate with Amtrak and communities along the route, and hopes to reach a conclusion soon.

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