The Bluegill Constellation connects the metropolis of Chicago with mid-state “ring cities” Bloomington, Champaign, Peoria, Galesburg, and the Quad City of Moline. Once the initial line to Bloomington is complete, Illinoisans can extend the line northwest and southeast in order to connect with the Iowa high-speed rail program. Chicago being the hub of the midwest, there are already many Amtrak corridors stretching outward. The Bluegill Constellation helps connect to Des Moines and the Quad Cities with Chicago. This improves travel to and from St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha, Iowa, as well as South Dakota. These in-state extensions and enhancements will provide high-speed stations in three primary urban areas in the state to connect, improve real estate values, incentivize construction in smaller cities, and extends passenger across the smaller mid-state cities, not just Chicago. Imagine what you could do when traveling the 135 miles from the Windy City to Bloomington in only an hour!
Consider the possibilities for business or recreational, comfortable, low-carbon travel between Bloomington to Chicago in about 60 minutes. This could help more Illinoisans meet with presidential candidates in Iowa in the future. Illinoisans, regular tourists, and business travelers should support an Illinois Ultra High-Speed Rail program for clean-tech jobs in construction and maintenance, and to support a clean-tech economy for the new decade and beyond. From the prairie home of Bloomington, through the land of Lincoln, to the cool Mississippi Riverside Quad Cities with fairgrounds and museums, the Bluegill Constellation will connect Illinois in a multitude of ways.
Following the I-55 corridor, this plan will reduce carbon emissions from car and bus travel, which is good for the planet, Illinois tourism, farming, hunting, and wildlife, and help Illinoisans be more connected with contacts, family and friends in nearby cities and provide better rail access to Illinois and Missouri.
The initial phase of 135 miles from Chicago to Bloomington and the 50 miles from Galesburg to Moline would cost around $18 billion and could create $159 billion in economic benefits to the state. Travelers can transfer to the existing Amtrak lines in Chicago, Bloomington, Champaign, or Galesburg for connections to Iowa, Missouri, and Kentucky. Once Illinois completes its high-speed rail constellation program, upstate, mid-state, and downstaters can have access to passenger rail from Moline to Carbondale, extending an extensive network of regional travel possibilities.
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