$1.95B high-speed rail project in final phase in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – A nearly $2 billion high-speed Amtrak rail project in Illinois is in its final phase of construction.

The State Journal-Register reports that the Amtrak passenger service at speeds of up to 90 mph should begin in the summer. The Union Pacific-Third Street corridor in Springfield is part of the work that remains.

Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says speeds of up to 110 mph between St. Louis and Chicago should be ready by 2019, pending installation of automated train-control and detection technology. The satellite-based “positive train control” technology is designed to automatically stop trains if a crash is imminent.

Blankenhorn says that he expects the project to finish on time and on budget. Federal funding will pay $1.65 billion of the final cost with the state covering about $300 million.