Chances are slim for securing current federal funding to help bring passenger rail service between Peoria and Bloomington/Normal. Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports:
The Mayors from Peoria and Normal traveled with staff to Washington D.C. in January asking for $4 million to pay for the rail project’s environmental review and pre-engineering costs. Officials with the federal transit administration are now saying that there’s no federal planning money currently available to help pay for the project. Terry Kohlbuss is executive director of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission. He says the commission is looking to use money traditionally set-aside for road projects to help pay for the rail costs: “That is one possibility that policy makers can consider. The kind of work that we need to do on this passenger rail project is eligible, at least a substantial portion of it would be eligible for that fund,” Kohlbuss says. Kohlbuss says he’s also spoken with the City Managers in Peoria and Normal to try and develop ideas to raise local dollars towards paying for the rail project.