Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SR0616
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Full Text of SR0616  99th General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, Illinois' economy depends on a robust and
3efficient transportation network; and
4    WHEREAS, The sheer size of our State, with automobile
5travel from the south to the north taking as much as 6 hours,
6leaves our cities and regions relatively disconnected from each
7other, slowing our economic growth; and
8    WHEREAS, One major transportation project can unite the
9entire State's economy, linking together business centers and
10generating efficiencies and economic growth; and
11    WHEREAS, An Illinois Department of Transportation study
12completed by the University of Illinois found that an
13O'Hare-Union Station-Champaign-Springfield-St. Louis with a
14Champaign-Indianapolis branch high speed rail line would
15generate an operating surplus that would require no annual
16subsidy; and
17    WHEREAS, The next steps in the planning process for a
18statewide high speed rail line are an investment grade
19ridership analysis to allow potential private financing
20entities to assess the suitability of the high speed rail line
21for investment and a Tier One Environmental Impact Statement to



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1qualify the project for federal funds; and
2    WHEREAS, The extension of the Metra Electric line south
3from University Park through Will County to Kankakee has long
4been a transportation objective for the south suburbs; this
5high speed rail line would serve that market, bringing Kankakee
6County, Will County, and southern Cook County modern
7transportation access to Chicago and the southern part of the
8State; and
9    WHEREAS, The State-owned land for the planned South
10Suburban Airport becomes far more valuable if a high speed
11train station is built on that site and was incorporated with
12any future airport to be developed there, leveraging the
13State's existing investment in the South Suburban Airport; and
14    WHEREAS, The convention business is a major industry for
15Illinois' economy; any way that could improve the
16attractiveness of our convention spaces like McCormick Place to
17major shows is a key component to Illinois' prosperity; and
18    WHEREAS, Connecting McCormick Place, the continent's
19largest exhibition venue, directly to O'Hare International
20Airport, the nation's busiest airport, significantly enhances
21the attractiveness of Chicago to trade shows, as it allows
22visitors to avoid the chronically congested Kennedy Expressway



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1with a direct train ride to the existing Metra station in
2McCormick Place; and
3    WHEREAS, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has recently stated his
4interest in developing high speed rail from O'Hare to downtown
5Chicago and has tasked new Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans
6with advancing that vision, which would serve as the key anchor
7in a statewide high speed rail line; and
8    WHEREAS, Supporting and building new technology companies
9is a key goal for creating more Illinois jobs; one of the
10world's greatest centers for cutting-edge research in
11technology and software is the University of Illinois at
12Urbana-Champaign, but Illinois has lost thousands of graduates
13to other states, which have created new technology companies
14worth tens of billions of dollars; and
15    WHEREAS, Connecting the University of Illinois at
16Urbana-Champaign to downtown Chicago via a 50 minute high-speed
17train ride is the best way to integrate the financial and
18business capital of Chicago with the intellectual and
19technological capital of Urbana-Champaign to support and
20create new billion-dollar technology businesses in Illinois;
22    WHEREAS, Three Fortune 500 companies are in Downstate



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1Illinois, Archer Daniels Midland in Decatur, Caterpillar, Inc.
2in Peoria, and State Farm Insurance Companies in Bloomington;
3providing a world-class high speed rail line from O'Hare to
4downstate Illinois with an eventual connecting train service to
5other communities would significantly improve the entire
6State's business climate, particularly for high-level
7corporate executives who require convenient access to
8international flights; and
9    WHEREAS, Placing the St. Louis-area terminus at the East
10St. Louis Metrolink station would not only save a billion
11dollars by avoiding the need to build a new bridge over the
12Mississippi River, as passengers could simply take the existing
13Metrolink from East St. Louis into Missouri, it would also
14serve as a game-changer for East St. Louis, stimulating
15economic development, jobs, and a sustainable tax base for one
16of the State's most challenged communities; and
17    WHEREAS, Several nations have sent trade delegations to
18Illinois expressing sincere interest in exporting their high
19speed train systems to our State; several nations have also
20offered to help finance a portion of the capital construction
21costs, including France, China, and Japan; and
22    WHEREAS, To date, Illinois has been unable to take
23advantage of the interest from other nations in partially



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1financing and constructing a high speed rail line, mainly due
2to a lack of planning; therefore, be it
4ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we urge Governor Rauner
5and the Illinois Department of Transportation to build upon the
6work of the 2013 high speed rail report and immediately task
7their existing consultants to prepare an investment-grade
8ridership analysis for distribution to interested parties
9around the world; and be it further
10    RESOLVED, That we urge Governor Rauner and the Illinois
11Department of Transportation to concurrently task their
12existing consultants to prepare as expeditiously as possible
13the Tier One Environmental Impact Statement to qualify the high
14speed rail project for federal funds and to seek federal
15planning funds to help pay for this study; and be it further
16    RESOLVED, That we commend Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for
17his commitment to building high speed train service between
18O'Hare International Airport and downtown Chicago and urge all
19State agencies to provide any and all assistance to the City of
20Chicago in implementing this crucial transportation project;
21and be it further
22    RESOLVED, That we call upon Congress to return to their



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1previous practice in Fiscal Year 2010 of appropriating $2.5
2billion in the annual federal budget for capital grants to
3states for high speed rail projects in order to help fund this
4high speed rail project; and be it further
5    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
6delivered to the Governor, the Illinois Secretary of
7Transportation, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the members of
8the Illinois congressional delegation.