© 2024 NPR Illinois
The Capital's Community & News Service
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Butler named to leadership role with high-speed rail commission

Tim Butler
Illinois Railroad Association President Tim Butler

Illinois Railroad Association President Tim Butler of Springfield has been elected Vice Chair of the Illinois High-Speed Rail Commission.

Butler, who left the Illinois legislature after nearly eight years as a state representative, will work on a plan for the future of high-speed rail in Illinois. The Commission Chair is Jim Derwinski of the suburban commuter rail service Metra.

"We are blessed to be the only state with all six Class 1 freight railroads," said Butler, whose role is leading the nonprofit trade association representing the freight rail industry. "If we are going to move forward with true high-speed rail in Illinois, our freight railroads are going to be vital partners in this effort. That is why I put my name forward for Vice Chair. Working with Chair Derwinksi, we have representatives of the commuter/passenger rail perspective and the freight rail perspective to help do the work of this commission."

The Illinois High-Speed Rail Commission was created in 2021 through legislation signed by Governor Pritzker.

The commission will issue a report to the Governor and General Assembly by December 31 of each year, and is scheduled to conclude its work by the end of 2026.

"We need to be inclusive and all-encompassing in our review and planning for this effort," Butler added. "Everyone who has a stake in high-speed rail should have the opportunity to be a part of this discussion for us to be successful. My hope is that we develop an aspirational plan which rises to our state’s legacy as a transportation leader; but also, a plan which is ultimately actionable and achievable."

Related Stories