June 19, 2019

Duckworth Secures Commitments on Illinois Transportation Projects at FAST Act Reauthorization Hearing

Duckworth discusses projects like Chicago-Quad Cities passenger rail & on-time Amtrak performance in Illinois with transportation officials


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) secured commitments from top transportation officials on several key Illinois and national projects during today’s U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation (CST) hearing on reauthorizing a surface transportation bill. At the hearing, Duckworth questioned Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Administrator Ronald Batory, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Raymond Martinez, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Deputy Administrator Heidi King, Assistant Secretary for Aviation as well as International Affairs at the Office of the Secretary of Transportation Joel Szabat. Video from today’s hearing is available here.

“I’m glad these transportation leaders are committed to working with me on critical Illinois transportation initiatives, like advancing the Chicago-Quad Cities passenger rail project, improving Amtrak’s on-time performance, ending roadway deaths by 2050 and expediting the DOT report on expanding the TIFIA program to include eligible airport-related projects,” Duckworth said. “These initiatives are critical to making Illinois’ transportation systems safer and more reliable, and I look forward to working with these administrators to make sure they are completed as quickly as possible.”

At the hearing, Duckworth received a commitment from Administrator Batory to provide the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Iowa Interstate Railroad and other stakeholders with flexibility to finalize agreements to advance the Chicago-Quad Cities passenger rail project. She also received a commitment from Administrator Batory to get the FRA more involved in addressing frustrating delays along Amtrak’s Saluki line (Chicago-Champaign-Carbondale) and to work with Amtrak, Canadian National and the Illinois Department of Transportation to address signal activation issues and identify permanent solutions to improve on-time performance and end the ongoing saga.

Duckworth also received commitments from Deputy Administrator King and Administrator Martinez that their agencies still share the “Road to Zero” coalition’s goal of eliminating all roadway deaths by 2050. Duckworth was also able to get Assistant Secretary Szabat to agree to finalize the DOT’s report studying the benefits of expanding TIFIA to eligible airport-related projects, which is required as a result of legislation passed by Duckworth and U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA).