Dear Governor Pritzker and Governor Reynolds,
Please work with IDOT and Iowa to create a unified plan that includes frequent service along the Blackhawk Corridor.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is planning a modest new service to Rockford, the fifth largest city in Illinois. It’s also funding a feasibility study for an extension to Dubuque.
But the current approach leaves a lot of revenue on the table and misses some great opportunities.
A unified plan for the entire corridor, with cooperation between Iowa and Illinois, would yield a much bigger payoff.
Critical components of a unified plan for the Blackhawk Corridor:
1. Allow IDOT to implement tiered service, which would make the whole line much more usable and multiply its power to revitalize communities.
2. Create convenient access to O’Hare Airport via Franklin Park station.
3. Give Metra a path to expand and maximize its current services.
Starting with the right frequency is critical.
A good place to start is by implementing 5 trains per day between Rockford-Chicago and an additional 3 frequencies between Waterloo-Dubuque-Chicago.
Having frequent departures will allow for a wider range of trips to be taken between all of the stops along the line, from commuting, business trips and visiting family or friends. It will also justify more frequent service on Metra and other connected transit services, which increases overall ridership, boosting the value of the entire network.
It’s critical that IDOT make a plan for high-frequency service along the Blackhawk Corridor—now.
Unlike roads, which are designed for people to show up whenever they want. Railroad tracks are designed to match the number of trains in an operating plan. So it’s difficult to add trains later.
And the reality is: Good transportation systems require a detailed plan. A lot of moving parts are involved. They must work together seamlessly. That kind of tight coordination only happens when there’s a plan.
Illinois and Iowa must work together, prioritize this project, create a unified plan for the Blackhawk Corridor — and get it done for the people and small businesses depending on it.
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Click here to read about our vision for the Blackhawk Corridor
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