On Thursday, May 20, 2010 the NICTI Executive Committee met to discuss the next steps in moving the project ahead. Topics discussed included funding opportunities such as the FTA New Starts/Small Starts, timeline of the Chicago to Dubuque Amtrak service which is proposed to operate on the same rail line as this commuter rail service, and the completion deadline for the FTA documentation for this study. The FTA documentation includes an Environmental Assessment and an Alternatives Analysis report. The environmental investigation indicates that there are few significant environmental impacts with the preferred rail corridor. Once the Environmental Assessment is reviewed by the FTA and changes are incorporated, it will be released for public review and comment. A public hearing will be held to formally record comments which will be incorporated into a Final Environmental Assessment.
The Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning (RMAP) retained a researcher from University of Illinois Health Systems Research to conduct a scientific poll related to (a) regional priorities, (b) local funding and (c) local governance. A survey was sent to 10,006 households in Boone and Winnebago Counties. With partial results in, the survey indicates that nearly 3/4 of the respondents feel that commuter rail is important or very important. Many people also expressed a willingness to fund the operation of the service through a variety of revenue measures.