Illinois granted $186M of rail money once offered to Florida

Illinois will get $186 million of the high-speed rail money that was turned down this spring by Florida.

Sen. Bill Nelson's (D-Fla.) office on Thursday circulated a newspaper article describing the Department of Transportation's action. This week, the DOT made available $400 million of the $2.4 billion Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) forcefully rejected and gave a chunk of it to Illinois.
 

ADVERTISEMENT
"Oh the pain," was subject line of Nelson’s email.

"And the train and the jobs," it continued.
 
Illinois is the home of both Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and President Obama.  

Both of that state's senators hailed the funding.

"Illinois will be able to use this funding to upgrade an important segment of the Chicago to St. Louis corridor,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D) said in a statement. “Improvements to this route will improve on-time performance, increase travel speeds and create jobs that our state badly needs."

“This project will create nearly 6,000 direct and indirect jobs, decrease delays and improve performance,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R) said. “High-speed rail projects like this one will ensure that Illinois remains at the center of the nation’s infrastructure network, attracting more jobs and making us more economically competitive.”

Nelson fought to find a way to accept the rail money for Florida without Scott's approval, but transportation officials grew impatient and opened the money up to other states.
 
Although the DOT said $400 million of the $2.4 billion had so far been reprogrammed for other states. The grant to Illinois is the first announced.
 
The money will be used for a high-speed railway between Chicago and St. Louis.