Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 8:46 pm
Amtrak ridership in Illinois has risen in recent years; it's up almost 85 percent from 2006 through last year. That trend developed after the rail service added routes. The train service could grow more in the future.
In 2006, lines branching out from Chicago that went to Carbondale, Quincy and St. Louis added trips.
An effort to create a national park at former town site in western Illinois remains stalled in the US Senate. Congressman Aaron Schock, a Republican, is part of a bi-partisan group of lawmakers seeking the designation for New Philadelphia.
That site in Pike County marks the first town in the country founded by an African American. Frank McWorter was a freed slave who created the community in 18-36.
Schock says creating a national park would allow more people to know the story of McWorter. He says it work in tandem with Lincoln attractions in Springfield.
Congress has less than two weeks to act before the current farm bill expires.
Dozens of federal programs are included in the bill -- everything from crop insurance to food aid for the poor.
Spending on food aid is one of the reasons that House Republican leaders have refused to call the measure for a vote. U-S Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is among many farm-state politicians of both parties who have been critical of that decision.