Exclusive: 13 News obtain letter on Amtrak funding in Rockford - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Head of IDOT updates lawmakers on Amtrak funding

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ROCKFORD (WREX) - Funding for Amtrak service in Rockford is in jeopardy.   It's been said many times already,but now it's in writing from the state's top transportation official.

A letter from the acting secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation.  It's addressed to six state lawmakers from Northern Illinois.

The letter states: "While a merit based approach takes time, IDOT is working expeditiously to evaluate all projects under review. In the interim, it is important that project stakeholders understand the status of this project and the possibility that it may or may not be terminated."

Funding for this project has been under review since Governor Rauner put a hold on all major transportation projects.

Reaction from local lawmakers to the letter:

“The availability of funds for this project was falsely advertised. There was no money designated for the project. It was an outrageous political lie by the prior administration,” said Republican State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, of Rockford.  “We must proceed cautiously and explore other means of developing transportation until IDOT determines their current and future fiscal outlook.”

State Representative Brian Stewart, R-Freeport, said, "I am disappointed that this project continues to be delayed.  IDOT confirmed that this project currently looks doubtful, however I am hopeful that future plans will continue to develop as we strive to address our States' current fiscal mess. Until then, we will just have to wait.”

State Representative John Cabello, R-Machesney Park, said, "It's unfortunate that this project continues to be unsuccessful, but the reality is the funds were never allocated. IDOT is in a difficult fiscal situation and will have to evaluate its long-term fiscal problems before committing to the project. I will have a better understanding as I work with Secretary Blakenhorn to appropriate IDOT's FY16 Budget. However, we must first and foremost be stewards to the taxpayers of the state.”

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