First it would be best if you had a little background on the debate prior to reading my opinion.
3rd Street Rail
*This article is a recent position taken by House Speaker Madigan on the debate between the 3rd and 10th Street corridors.
First, I have to state my possible bias. I am currently living on fifth street, and I hear trains coming through at all hours of the night. However, I will not be living on Fifth when high speed rail in Springfield comes to fruition, so I don't have a stake in the game.
3rd Street is not an acceptable location for the incoming high speed rail line. The line would run through the center of the downtown area, and cause bottlenecks and headache for all downtown travelers. This would impede downtown traffic and business. The increased train activity would harm the look and flow of downtown.
Also, one of the proposed overpasses would cover three sides of the historic Dana Thomas House. This is unacceptable, the landmark should be preserved at its current view.
From a public administration perspective it makes sense to move the high speed rail onto the 10th St. corridor.
Now for the politics of the issue. Political pressure is coming from multiple groups. One advocating against using 3rd St. and another against using 10th St. The problem is the perceived split in the downtown area. The historically poorer area of town is along 10th St., this causes a political problem. Having forty additional trains a day go through the 10th St. corridor would create a permanent divide between the west and east of town.
Also up for consideration, the Illinois Dept. of Transportation has stated clearly that they do not have time to study the 10th St. corridor as an option. They need to apply for federal stimulus money by Friday. City groups and leaders have threatened lawsuits if the plan is pushed forward. Of course, Mike Madigan is moving to limit State funds from being spent on the project.
Should be interesting in the next few weeks. I say no to the 3rd St. corridor.