SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois has set aside $8.6 million for engineering studies and designs for a section of the Chicago-St. Louis high-speed rail line that runs through the state capital.
That, along with preliminary environmental approval, boosts chances of resolving a key dispute over the line's route through Springfield.
Local officials opposed an early proposal that they felt would cause disruption to business downtown and to the medical district.
Instead, they favor an alternative route that would consolidate rail traffic along the city's 10th Street.
If that route is chosen, the new state funding would help make it a reality.
The funds come from Gov. Pat Quinn's Illinois Jobs Now program.
The first trains traveling at the higher speed of 110 mph will begin between the cities of Dwight and Pontiac in September.