CHICAGO (WBBM) — More high-speed rail money is on its way to Illinois. WBBM’s Bob Roberts reports that this is the third time since early last year that Illinois has received high-speed rail money.

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The U.S. Dept. of Transportation Wednesday announced that it has awarded $186 million to enable existing rails between Joliet and Dwight to be upgraded for 110-mile-an-hour service.

It’s another step toward transforming the existing Chicago-St. Louis route.

With this grant, upgrading to the route between Joliet and Alton is funded. Studies are still being conducted to determine the best entry into Chicago, and are due next year.

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Re-construction is being done this year between Elkhart, just north of Springfield, and Dwight. The 18-mile segment between Dwight and Pontiac is expected to be the first on which trains on the corridor will hit 110 miles an hour. The entire route is expected to be completed by 2014.

In a joint release, U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and Gov. Pat Quinn said the DOT grant will provide construction jobs for 6,000 workers.

“Today’s announcement is an important step toward faster trains and even better rail service,” Quinn said.

The money Illinois is receiving was rejected in January by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, over the objections of many local business and tourism officials. DOT reallocated $400 million in the latest grants; it has yet to reallocate an additional $2 billion.

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Illinois has two other major grant applications pending. One seeks $262.8 million for new trains on several Illinois corridors. The other, submitted jointly with Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin, seeks $806.8 million for new regional trains. All would be capable of higher-speed operation.

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