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Durbin Uses Superpowers To Close Amtrak Deal

By Alicia Dorr in News on Oct 30, 2006 6:34PM

Even when we're stuck between the crying child who keeps throwing crayons at people and the h1106.jpghuge guy drinking Bud Light at $5 a pop, we love Amtrak. Our love of the transportation system made us do an embarrassing Arsenio Hall fist pump this morning when we heard that Dick Durbin muscled Canadian National into allowing Amtrak to use its rail lines.

That's right - Amtrak is expanding in Illinois. It gives us a warm, fuzzy feeling inside when we consider all the cars this could keep off the road, all the environment that could be saved, and all the happy families saving a little money with their commute. It also serves as a reminder to us that every time President Bush tries to cut all funding for Amtrak, senators like Durbin will be there to thwart his aim.

Anyway, Amtrak trains will be running on Canadian National rail lines that begin in Chicago and end in St. Louis and Carbondale. The added routes will attempt to accommodate a 12.5% increase in ridership from last year. Durbin said he was prepared to go to court when he heard that Canadian National officials were reconsidering parts of the agreement, as well as planning to only allow the added trains to use their tracks for one year.

Well, Durbin said "oof" to those plans. The new routes will be available for passenger service starting Monday.

Photo via Daylight Images.