May 15, 2002

SPRINGFIELD (May 15)–Following up on earlier action by the Illinois House, the State Senate today unanimously adopted the pro-passenger rail resolution known as House Joint Resolution 71.

The measure, which the House passed April 24, calls on Congress and the Bush administration to preserve the existing national network of intercity passenger trains and to provide a “source of predictable, reliable and sustainable funding” so that the current system can be expanded over new and upgraded trackage permitting higher speeds and frequencies.

Prior to being introduced in the House, the resolution was endorsed by a wide range of organizations, including the National Governors Association, the Council of State Governments, the United States Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Railroad Passengers, the National Corridors Initiative, the Sierra Club, Business and Professional People in the Public Interest, the UTU, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and a host of other business, civic and labor organizations.

“The passage of HJR 71 in both the Senate and House means that a federally funded network of high-speed corridor trains and long-distance conventional trains is now the official policy of the State of Illinois,” said UTU Illinois Legislative Director Joseph C. Szabo.

“After being signed by Senate President Pate Philip (R-Elmhurst and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), the measure will be forwarded to the White House, the Department of Transportation and the key committee chairmen in Congress,” Szabo said. “The resolution’s bi-partisan support and overwhelming majority in both Houses should send a strong message to our elected officials in Washington that the people of Illinois want passenger trains and want Congress and the administration to devise an effective method for funding them.”