This week's tragic news was the December 19, 2017, high speed Amtrak train derailment in Washington State, which killed three people and seriously injured 100. Reports confirm national high speed train safety measures are not in place.
Does it concern anyone else that IDOT is spending millions of dollars to renovate train depots for Illinois high speed train service while our crumbling highways remain unsafe? Lincoln IL just celebrated their renovated train depot, which cost $4.1 million. Funding was called a "Federal High Speed Rail Initiative Grant," administered by IDOT. Depots in Dwight, Pontiac and Alton have been facelifted. The Lincoln renovation included landscaping, parking lots, sidewalks and lighting. More depot improvements are coming. How much will be spent on those train rails?
One article quoted IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn saying "approximately 22,000 visitors per year will use the Lincoln station." 22,000 people a year? Another article said "450,000 travel through the Lincoln area yearly." Do they stop and use that depot?
Where are IDOT's and politicians' priorities? Highway Illinois 121 from exit 138 off I-72 to Decatur is terrible. Potholes and crumbling shoulders on U.S. 51 north from Decatur to Clinton makes driving risky. Terrible roads and unsafe bridges are everywhere. The real danger is our highway infrastructure while politicians use our tax dollars for high speed rail and other projects.
Who will ride those scary high speed trains? Not me! It's scary enough to drive on our roads and bridges. Add another reason people are moving away from Illinois.
Judy Gandy, Decatur