More local funding allocated for Alton high-speed rail hub

News-DemocratMarch 3, 2014 

— The impending transportation center planned for Alton is getting some help from Madison County Transit.

The Alton Regional Multi-Modal Transportation Center will include a high-speed passenger rail station, bus transfer hub, bike and pedestrian paths and parking for 350 cars, as well as a welcome station for tourists. The city of Alton received a $13.8 million grant in 2011 toward the construction of the center, which required a 20-percent match including the land.

Last week, the Madison County Transit Board committed to providing half of the remaining local funds required. Transit director Jerry Kane said it will be a "nexus of activity" for the entire region.

"As an Alton resident and MCT Board member, I am enthusiastic about the opportunities that this partnership will present," said board member Bruce Malone. "We believe that the RMTC will not only have a significant economic impact on the city, but will also serve to showcase Alton's history, culture and natural beauty."

Other funds for the project have come from the Federal Railroad Administration and Illinois Department of Transportation. It is expected to serve 110-mile-per-hour passenger trains and Texas Eagle long-distance trains, offering seamless transfer between Amtrak and other facilities, according to a federal assessment.

The entire project will cost approximately $72 million in a public-private investment, with about $25 million coming from federal, state and local dollars. The project is to be completed by the end of 2016.

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