Madison County Board endorses high-speed rail stop in Alton

News-DemocratJuly 16, 2014 

An example of a high-speed rail train.

AP

— The Madison County Board believes the new high-speed rail line should have a regional hub in Alton.

The $25 million Alton Regional Multi-Modal Transportation Center will include a bus transfer hub, bike and pedestrian paths, a tourist welcome station and parking for 350 cards. The high-speed rail corridor planned to provide fast passenger service from Chicago to St. Louis will pass through Alton, and county officials would like to see it as a stop on the line.

The high speed trains will provide 110 mph service, planned to be in operation by 2017. It is hoped that making the Alton center a regional hub will leverage private and public investment for a "transit-oriented development" around the center, with increased flow of commuters.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is currently studying the alignments from Granite City to St. Louis across the river. The county wants to see Alton and St. Louis as the two regional stations in the metropolitan area, and has already committed millions to the construction project.

"It"s a totally new, $25 million facility," said Madison County Chairman Alan Dunstan. The county board unanimously voted to support putting the stop in Alton.

However, there has also been lobbying to put a stop in East St. Louis. A demonstration in May led by United Congregations in the Metro-East called for the stop as an "economic engine" to revitalize the city.

The county board also voted to establish a licensing procedure for organizations planning to have a poker run, in accordance with the "Raffles and Poker Runs Act" passed by the state. However, the board first voted to amend the proposed ordinance that would have charged a $15 fee for the license.

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