From AP - News Local/State -

$14 Million Awarded For Springfield Rail Underpass

high speed rail

FILE - In this July 9, 2007, file photo Amtrak's Lincoln Service train passes Illinois cornfields en route to Chicago. The rail line between Chicago and St. Louis will get $1.1 billion of the $8 billion in grants for high-speed rail projects to be announced Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010, by the White House. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

The federal government has awarded a $14.4 million grant for a railroad underpass in Springfield that will improve service along the emerging 110-mph Amtrak route between Chicago and St. Louis.

Four members of Congress from Illinois announced the award Friday.

The Carpenter Street underpass is part of work to consolidate rail traffic on a line east of downtown.

It will eliminate three street-level crossings, improving the safety of faster rail service through the state capital. It will also keep first responders from getting stuck at crossings.

In requesting the funds, the lawmakers said it was also a step toward possible construction of a dedicated passenger line, separate from the track now shared with freight trains. That would permit speeds of over 110 mph on Illinois' high-speed corridor.