Uptown Station open for business

By WEEK Producer

July 14, 2012 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 1:21 AM CDT

NORMAL, Ill. -- After more than 10 years of planning and construction, he town of Normal has officially opened its new multi-modal transportation center.

Hundreds of came out Saturday morning to see the new Uptown Station in Normal. Residents like Jim Weaver are happy it connects several modes of transportation in the heart of Normal's downtown.

"They have everything in one spot; I do like the idea," said Weaver. "You can get a cab, a bus, and a train."

The project was funded with $13 million from state and local governments, $10.6 million in federal funding and a $22 million grant under President Obama's TIGER program, or Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery.

Lawmakers on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony say it is tax dollars well spent.

"For those of you who don't think the stimulus worked, here's an example," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "The stimulus worked thanks to President Obama's vision to try and get the county moving again."

Transportation Secretary LaHood says the government has also invested over $3 billion dollars to upgrade tracks between Chicago and St. Louis. Meaning, bigger, better, and faster things are yet to come.

"High speed rail is coming to America and its going to be right here in Illinois because of this opportunity," said LaHood.

"This corridor is the fasting growing commitment and investment in high speed rail outside of the east coast," said United States Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).

The 68-,000 square feet facility also plays host to the new Normal city hall and council chambers.

Amtrack passenger service will officially use Uptown Station starting Sunday.

Those behind the project say it is unclear what will happen to the old station.

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