The Federal Railroad Administration has chosen Illinois to lead a group of five states hoping to buy high-speed rail locomotives for more than $800 million.
Gov. Pat Quinn made the announcement Thursday. The Illinois Department of Transportation will obtain the next-generation diesel locomotives on behalf of five states: Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri and Washington. The money allotted will pay for 35 new locomotives and 130 bi-level rail cars.
IDOT will manage and oversee the procurement process.
About $1.5 billion in improvements to the rail line between Chicago and St. Louis are expected to enable speeds of 110 mph over 70 percent of the route by 2015.