Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SR0209
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Full Text of SR0209  94th General Assembly



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2     WHEREAS, Amtrak is a vital part of the Illinois economy and
3 the Bush Administration's recent proposal to eliminate federal
4 operating dollars for Amtrak is a threat to the State of
5 Illinois; and
6     WHEREAS, The Administration's expectation that the State
7 of Illinois can find additional dollars to replace disappearing
8 federal dollars is short-sighted and unrealistic, as the burden
9 on the State of Illinois would be severe and well beyond the
10 means of State government to meet; and
11     WHEREAS, Every developed nation in the world invests in a
12 national passenger rail system and the perpetual lack of
13 funding from the United States Congress has left our passenger
14 rail system far behind what our citizens deserve; and
15     WHEREAS, The purpose of a federal government is to fund and
16 implement those interstate programs that state governments are
17 not equipped to administer well, and interstate passenger rail
18 is a proper program for the federal government to administer;
19 and
20     WHEREAS, Amtrak is a major Illinois employer with more than
21 2000 employees earning in the aggregate more than $83 million
22 in FY 2004; and
23     WHEREAS, Over 2.3 million riders traveled through
24 Chicago's Union Station on Amtrak in FY 2004, with more than
25 1.9 million riders from outside of Illinois arriving in
26 Chicago; and
27     WHEREAS, These 1.9 million out-of-state Amtrak riders
28 arriving into Union Station every year inject much-needed
29 tourism dollars into our State's economy; and



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1     WHEREAS, The opening of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential
2 Library in April of 2005, four blocks from the Amtrak station,
3 will be another prime opportunity to bring tourism dollars into
4 Illinois; and
5     WHEREAS, The total Illinois Amtrak ridership in FY 2004 was
6 over 3,000,000, breaking all previous records and rising
7 rapidly; and
8     WHEREAS, Amtrak currently serves Illinois with 50 daily
9 trains, with daily long distance service from Chicago to
10 Oakland, Denver, Salt Lake City, Cleveland, Pittsburgh,
11 Washington D.C., Memphis, New Orleans, St. Paul, Seattle,
12 Portland, Buffalo, Boston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, St. Louis,
13 Dallas, San Antonio, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and New York
14 City; and
15     WHEREAS, Amtrak currently serves almost 30 communities in
16 Illinois (Alton, Bloomington-Normal, Carbondale, Carlinville,
17 Centralia, Champaign-Urbana, Chicago, Du Quoin, Dwight,
18 Effingham, Galesburg, Gilman, Glenview, Homewood, Joliet,
19 Kankakee, Kewanee, Lincoln, Macomb, Mattoon, Mendota,
20 Naperville, Plano, Pontiac, Princeton, Quincy, Rantoul,
21 Springfield, and Summit), all of which would be at major risk
22 of losing passenger rail service should the President's
23 proposal be implemented by the Congress; and
24     WHEREAS, The State of Illinois has provided financial
25 support for a number of years to maintain Amtrak service to its
26 citizens and has continued its strong support for in-state
27 passenger rail service by budgeting $12.4 million in the
28 current State Fiscal Year 2005 to continue existing levels of
29 service; and
30     WHEREAS, The State of Illinois currently receives far fewer



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1 spending dollars from the federal government than our taxpayers
2 send to Washington, making Illinois a donor state; and
3     WHEREAS, Amtrak is one of the relatively few federal
4 programs that disproportionately benefits Illinois, making
5 Amtrak a great investment for the State of Illinois; therefore,
6 be it
8 ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we call on the United
9 States Congress to invest, not divest, in a national passenger
10 rail system with Chicago's Union Station as a major hub; and be
11 it further
12     RESOLVED, That we call on the Illinois congressional
13 delegation to lead the effort in a bipartisan manner to protect
14 Illinois' unequivocal interest in strong, fully-funded
15 passenger rail service; and be it further
16     RESOLVED, That we call upon the Department of
17 Transportation to report to the General Assembly by November 1,
18 2005, on the implications to State support for continued
19 passenger rail service within Illinois should federal
20 operating support for Amtrak ultimately be eliminated or
21 significantly reduced in the federal budget; and be it further
22     RESOLVED, That copies of this preamble and resolution be
23 sent to each member of the Illinois congressional delegation
24 and to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation.