podiumROCKFORD – State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) released the following statement on the expansion of Amtrak service to Rockford:

"Getting Amtrak service back on track has been a priority for me since I've taken office. Many people have worked to bring us where we are today," Stadelman said. "I am excited to be part of the final push to make Amtrak service a reality. For too long, the Rockford community's needs were ignored. No longer. Our growing, vibrant city boasts tremendous transportation opportunities and the addition of passenger rail service to and from Chicago enhances the amenities our community needs."

Governor Pat Quinn announced a $223 million state capital investment that will create hundreds of jobs and restart Amtrak service between Rockford and Chicago beginning in 2015.

After two years of discussion, the state of Illinois has decided to switch to a new route, utilizing tracks owned by Metra and the Union Pacific Railroad.

The new northern route was chosen after lengthy negotiations with the Canadian National Railway, whose tracks were originally chosen for the service. Switching to the new tracks will ensure that service begins in 2015 and isn't held up by continued delays.

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NAMIaward

Senator Stadelman recently was honored as the 2013 Get to Know NAMI legislative award by the Northern Illinois Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. From NAMI Northern Illinois' Facebook page:

Congratulations to Senator Steve Stadelman who is the recipient of our 2013 Get to Know NAMI legislative award. Senator Stadelman earned this award when he and his staff continually step up to help members of our community who have had issues with mental health care. Thank you for all you do.

Last week, Stadelman passed legislation that would ensure the Rockford area would still have adequate mental health-care services after the closing of Singer Mental Health Center.

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Senator Stadelman testified in support of Senate Bill 1859 during Wednesday's meeting of the Senate Executive Committee at the Capitol. The Rockford Register Star was there to cover it:

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford, said it was time to move the proposal forward, even though all talks are ongoing to resolve labor leaders' outstanding concerns.

"I'm going to do everything I can to keep both parties negotiating and work through their issues while keeping this bill moving forward," Stadelman said.

SB 1859 passed the Executive Committee unanimously and will be considered by the full Senate next month.

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