High speed rail stockSPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) that creates a commission to help make a statewide network of new and existing high-speed passenger rail lines a reality has been signed by the governor.

“Creating a high-speed rail network would provide a fast, safe and reliable way to travel across the state,” Stadelman said.

The measure would create the High-Speed Railway Commission to assist the state and organizations like the High-Speed Rail Alliance, which produced a plan to create a high-speed rail line from Chicago to St. Louis within the next 10 years, coordinate.

“Connecting Rockford to Chicago through rail has always been one of my top priories,” Stadelman said. “This investment in high speed rail networks will expand travel opportunities for the residents of Rockford and the entire state.”

The commission would also be tasked with producing an annual report for the General Assembly on potential plans for a high-speed rail line between Chicago and St. Louis, with connections to the cities of Rockford, Moline, Peoria and Decatur. The final goal is to modernize and integrate all train systems in Illinois into one connected high-speed rail network.

House Bill 399 was signed by the governor on Friday, and the new law takes effect immediately.