June 16, 2023

Officials break ground on the new Southern Illinois Multimodal Station in Carbondale

Source: The Southern Illinoisan


SIMMS will be located on the southeast corner of Illinois Avenue and Wall Street. The new building will extend to just outside the north wall of the current Amtrak station.

“We are thrilled to have you here to witness the beginning of a significant project that has been in the works since 2010 when the City of Carbondale purchased property just adjacent to where we are standing,” said Carbondale Mayor Carolin Harvey. “Nine years ago tomorrow, the city held its first meeting with Amtrak officials to propose a new station.”

She said so many people and agencies deserve credit for SIMMS, including:

  • Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Rep. Mike Bost and their staff, who helped receive a BUILD grant award of over $18 million.
  • The State of Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Omer Osman of IDOT and the IDOT Transit Division who will provide an additional $2.8 million in funding.
  • State lawmakers Sen. Dale Fowler and Rep. Paul Jacobs
  • Amtrak officials
  • Laborers Local 773 and the Egyptian Building Trades who advocated for this project.
  • Regional agencies that include our transit providers, Greater Egypt, the IDOT District 9 office, and USDA Rural development who recently awarded the project $95,000 to help furnish a co-working space.
  • The local advocacy group that includes Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens, SIU Chancellor’s Office, Southern Illinois Healthcare, Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, and labor agencies.

Speakers at the ground breaking included Durbin, Duckworth, Katie Main from Rep. Bost’s office, State Sen. Dale Fowler, State Rep. Paul Jacobs, Illinois Secretary of Transportation Omar Osman, Dr. David Handora of Amtrak, Shawn Freeman of Jackson County Transit and Phil Gilbert, president of the SIU board.

During his speech, Durbin said that he and Duckworth have a softball team together at the Capitol that only sometimes wins, but that the SIMMS project is a win.

The U.S. Department of Transportation originally awarded the city $14 million for the station. They then awarded a second sum of $4.3 million, bringing the total amount of money allocated up to $18.3 million for the SIMMS project.

“This was a joint effort. The rivers and railroads have a lot to do with the way of life and the economy of Southern Illinois,” Durbin said.

“I am thrilled to celebrate SIMMS, which will be good for Amtrak, Greyhound, transit, bikes and even wheelchair users. This will make getting around Carbondale and the region easier, faster and safer,” Duckworth said.

She added that this is the kind of thing we can do when everyone works together.

Fowler said the project is a revitalization for all of Southern Illinois. The project, like the Rise Market in Cairo, brings hope to the community and the region.

“I’m thankful to live in God’s country in beautiful Southern Illinois,” Fowler said.

Jacobs said the project is good for all areas of Southern Illinois and will help people shop in Carbondale.

Omar Osman, the Illinois Secretary of Transportation, said the drive to Carbondale on Friday reminded him why Illinois needs a multimodal station.

“This is another safe, reliable option to get people to where they are trying to go,” Osman said. “Carbondale is home to one of the finest universities in the state. This is the only option connecting people to education, medical care and employment,” Osman said.

Handora said Amtrak also is investing $3.5 million into a 1,000 foot platform for the new station.

After the speeches, dignitaries donned hard hats and shovels for a ceremonial ground-breaking.

After the ceremony, a site plan was available for viewing, showing what SIMMS will look like and its layout.

SIMMS is expected to open in late 2024 or early 2025.

By:  Marilyn Halstead