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Rail Project will Create Construction Jobs in Illinois

Posted on July 27, 2010

The Union Pacific Railroad is close to getting almost $100 million in federal money for track improvements, a move that could create hundreds of construction jobs in Illinois.

Sen. Dick Durbin has said that he’s confident this high speed rail project will get off the ground and get going.

The current agreement does not allow high-speed passenger rail. A new deal between Union Pacific and the Illinois Department of Transportation does not obligate Union Pacific to allow high speed rail trains.

Instead, the federal money will be spent on concrete ties and new rail on 90 miles of UP line between Alton and Springfield and between the capital city and Lincoln.

The railroad will own all the rights of the improvements, and high-speed rail can’t go forward without their approval.

Durbin doesn’t want to wait for the approval. He said he wants to move forward with the project now so that much-needed jobs open up.

About 900 jobs are expected to be created from the track improvements.

But a local union business manager said they’ve yet to receive any calls asking for people who can work, and Union Pacific is under no obligation to hire state workers. The railroad is supposed to supply the labor.

Durbin remains upbeat on the high-speed plans despite the lack of provision.

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