Bridges and Trains: transportation news from Rockford

Rockford, IL – The head of transportation in Illinois says plans are on track to restore passenger rail service to northern Illinois. Anne Schneider is the state's acting transportation secretary. She told a crowd in Rockford that the state has committed 60-million dollars to the Amtrak route that would run from Chicago to Rockford to Dubuque. The crowd cheered when Schneider said the schedule is to have service up and running by late 2014 -- and the state is close to getting that done.

Schneider joined Governor Quinn and other local officials in Rockford to promote state funding for construction projects. One of those is a huge neighborhood revitalization project that got underway in Rockford Tuesday: residents of southwest Rockford have high hopes for the Morgan Street Bridge rebuild. Within the next two years, the new 37-million dollar bridge will stretch across the river, connecting two state highways and a number of neighborhoods. Alderman Venita Hervey represents a large portion of that area. She said a number of projects underway in that area now will drastically change the landscape of the community, for the better. Hervey said a road is more than asphalt: it's what it brings to the community. And to her, this bridge will bring jobs and economic development to an area that sorely needs them.

The Morgan Street Bridge project is expected to create 400 construction jobs and should be completed by the end of 2014. Dozens of dignitaries, including the governor, gathered near the bridge Tuesday to take part in a ceremonial groundbreaking.