La Salle approves $8,000 pledge for Peoria to Chicago passenger line

Resolution passes to show La Salle interest in the project, help fund feasibility study

La Salle is proposed as one of the stops on a Peoria-to-Chicago train route pitched by the city of Peoria.

The La Salle City Council passed a resolution Monday to pledge $8,000 to help fund and support the Peoria to Chicago passenger rail service.

The money will be used to help fund a feasibility study to determine where stops would be and the capabilities of a passenger train to operate on previous lines, according to La Salle Economic Development Director Curt Bedei. Participating financially shows the city is interested and increases the likelihood of a train stop in La Salle.

“We (at La Salle) definitely think it’s worth the investment to get into this,” Mayor Jeff Grove said.

The passenger rail will provide Amtrak service from Peoria to Chicago with stops most likely in La Salle-Peru, Ottawa, Morris, Utica and Joliet. The service also is expected to complete five round trips daily once it’s completed, which is estimated to be in about a decade.

Grove mentioned past passenger rail project proposals that were never completed, but said he thinks this is the best opportunity to have a passenger rail service.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that there’s a map to success for this plan to come to fruition,” Grove said.

Bedei agreed, saying there’s more positivity and interest in this passenger rail proposal compared to past projects.

“I think there’s more interest and more investment,” Bedei said. “And I think there’s a chance for this to go through this time.”

Each city interested in participating in the study is asked to contribute a per capita dollar amount. Morris and Ottawa have both approved resolutions for the project. Peru and Utica’s councils have yet to make a decision.

During the finance committee meeting on Oct. 3, Alderman Tom Ptak voiced his feeling La Salle should pledge the money and participate in the study.

“I feel like we should be taking part in this,” Ptak said.