The head of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission says a shift in emphasis on a possible passenger rail line between Peoria and Bloomington-Normal will make it a much more viable idea. Terri Kohlbus says changing the project from a high speed rail link to a commuter route including multiple stops between Peoria and Bloomington Normal fits in better with President Obama's transportation policy vision. Kohlbus says the question that has lingered unanswerable for more than a decade is what level of gas price makes the idea a no brainer. Kohlbus says other factors matter as well.
Kohlbus says elements that could help the project such as sustainability, and climate change impact are already enshrined as values in the new federal highway bill. He says the unquestioned value of studying the issue is that should any of those moving targets make Peoria to Normal commuter rail a clear policy favorite, there would not be as much lead time needed to make it real. Price estimates are still vague, but Kohlbus says the capital outlay alone would likely top 220 million dollars.
Support Your Public Radio Station