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Law creates Springfield high-speed rail commission

manar hi speed railSPRINGFIELD – A proposal creating a commission that will oversee Springfield’s 10th Street Rail Corridor was signed into law Wednesday.

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and Representative Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) sponsored the commission that aims to increase transparency and ensure accountability in minority hiring.

Manar and Scherer credited citizen participation, specifically the Faith Coalition for the Common Good, for this commission becoming a reality.

“This commission will help ensure that the neighborhoods impacted by this construction will benefit from the jobs and economic development of the project. The community will have a public, centralized group to prioritize these goals and review their progress,” Manar said.

“The people need to be first in any decisions made that impact our community and economy,” said state Rep. Sue Scherer. “This commission will be a way for local voices to be heard, and I will keep working to offer protections and opportunities to local families.”

“The Faith Coalition for the Common Good’s Rail Community Benefit’s Agreement will be fulfilled by passage of this bill. We are elated. The voice of the people most impacted by the Springfield rail project has been heard,” said Irma Wallace, Co-chair of the Coalition’s Rail Task Force.

“This commission is a positive step forward because public engagement is key to a project of this magnitude,” Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder said. “I truly appreciate the efforts of Senator Manar and Representative Scherer and for the legislature and Governor’s support of this commission.”

The bipartisan High-Speed Rail Oversight Commission will be made up of Springfield residents appointed by legislative leaders, the governor, the mayor of Springfield and the Sangamon County state's attorney. At minimum it must meet quarterly and issue an annual report.

The new law, House Bill 3765, took effect immediately.