Even though only a tiny part of Illinois' high speed rail project can be considered complete, a top transportation official says it will be finished on time.
Joe Shacter from the Illinois Department of Transportation says only about 15 miles of work is finalized. But enough rail has been placed to cover almost the entire route from Chicago to St. Louis.
“It is really neat to look out the window and be roaring by the cars on Interstate-55. Instead of barely going faster than they are, you really move.”
Shacter says additional track is still needed so freight trains can move aside for passenger trains. Each crossing along the route will also be equipped with arms to stop cars when a train is coming.
Shacter says Illinois will pay $150 million from a state construction account.
The rest of the estimated $1.6 billion needed will come from the federal government. Shacter says high speed rail travel is expected to start in late 2015, with the entire project set to be done two years later.
Illinois Public Radio's Chris Slaby contributed to this report