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Moline City Administrator Bob Vitas has been appointed by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to the Illinois High-Speed Railway Commission.
Vitas was appointed to the commission – which is tasked with creating a statewide plan for a high-speed rail line and feeder network connecting Chicago and St. Louis, including a Quad Cities-to-Chicago link – on Oct. 6.
The commission was formed by legislative action in late 2021 and is authorized through 2026. Initial work includes conducting a ridership study and recommendations concerning a governance structure, frequency of service and implementation of the plan.
Vitas was nominated by the Illinois Municipal League and will be that organization’s representative on the commission.
Although the appointment does not immediately address the impasse between the City of Moline, Amtrak and the Iowa Interstate Railroad that has delayed passenger service here and left Moline’s $16 million downtown rail station empty since 2018, it is important to be a voice at the table, Vitas said.
“I will serve in this position until such time as the commission completes its works and provides the Illinois Legislature with a plan for high-speed rail to serve Illinois,” Vitas said. “It will not resolve the issues with Iowa Interstate directly, but it will impact those discussions as Moline is a principal city to be served connecting to the high-speed rail. At the end of the day Moline’s Amtrak service will connect the city to Chicago and the high-speed rail system.”
The HSR line will be integrated with existing Amtrak and Metra services, intercity bus service and connect the Illinois cities of Rockford, Moline, Peoria and Decatur. It would start at O’Hare International Airport and take just 127 minutes to reach downtown St. Louis.