[IMAGE]AmtrakNormalIllView-of-elevation-facing-roundabout-2-10FULL.jpg[/IMAGE] Last week, federal and state officials joined representatives of the Town of Normal and Amtrak to ceremonially break ground for a Multimodal Transportation Center, which will serve as a station for Amtrak rail and motorcoach passengers, local transit buses and include a multi-level parking structure.
In February 2010, Normal received a $22 million Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). With this grant in place, the estimated $43.3 million multimodal center project was completely funded. Monies were also obtained from Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity grants, and bonds issued by Normal.
“The Town is very proud of the fact that this project is the very first to begin actual construction, of all of the projects nationally that received U.S. Department of Transportation funding through the TIGER Program,” said Mayor Chris Koos.
The building will be on a traffic circle that is the new focal point of Uptown Normal.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff and Congressperson Debbie Halvorson, along with Mayor Koos and Amtrak Board Chairman Tom Carper, participated in the ceremony.
This 68,000 square foot facility with a train platform compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act will replace the Amtrak station in Normal, directly opposite of this project along the Union Pacific Railroad. Built in 1990 on the Town Hall parking lot, the small station is overwhelmed by increasing Amtrak ridership. With more than 192,000 passengers last year and growing, the station in Normal also serves neighboring Bloomington and is the busiest in Downstate Illinois.
The new transportation center will also feature retail and municipal office space, a community room and a 400-car parking garage. The town anticipates the building will achieve a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification.
In addition to ten daily Amtrak trains, Normal is also served by Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches operated by Burlington Trailways as far east as Indianapolis, via Champaign-Urbana and as far west as the Illinois-Iowa Quad Cities, via Peoria.