ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford’s Region 1 Planning Council has received $375,031 to study city’s rail infrastructure, with emphasis on the southwest rail yard, for opportunities related to bringing back passenger rail service.

“Transportation decisions made decades ago have severely impacted communities across Illinois, limiting access to opportunity for residents and preventing development that would strengthen local economies and create sustainable jobs,” said Rep. Eric Sorensen (D-17th). “I welcome this forward-thinking funding opportunity that’s going to reconnect Illinoisans, and I applaud the Region 1 Planning Council for working to create stronger communities in our region.”  

“The City of Rockford, and our region, benefit from a number of Class I railroads which serve our industry,” said Michael Dunn Jr., Executive Director for Region 1 Planning Council. “Unfortunately, there are a number of rail assets that sit unused, criss-crossing our neighborhoods and downtown Rockford. Too often, this old infrastructure increases blight, creates inefficiencies for our transportation systems and stymies neighborhood revitalization.” 

The study will look at development opportunities along the existing Canadian National tracks, according to a news release.

The funding is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, which is awarding $185 million to 45 projects across the country.