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Officials seek public opinion on commuter rail service

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 9:11 p.m. CDT

MORRIS – Public officials from across Illinois Valley are studying commuter rail service between Peru and Joliet, and they want resident feedback.

The Illinois Valley Public Transportation Study steering committee will host Thursday a public meeting at the Morris Municipal Services Building aimed at gathering public input and explaining the study.

The meeting will be an open house format, so residents can attend anytime between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.

Once there, attendees can view an audio-visual presentation, review exhibits, provide comments and meet individually with study team representatives.

“In trying to be as transparent as possible, they’re giving people the opportunity to participate in the process,” Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick said.

Kopczick is a part of the Illinois Valley Commuter Rail Steering Committee. Other representatives are from Channahon, Marseilles, Minooka, Joliet, Seneca, North Utica, Ottawa and Peru.

The committee was formed in 2002 with assistance from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Phase one of the four-phase feasibility study showed there were no fatal flaws preventing the project, Kopczick said.

“Since that first phase study, the county’s bus system under Sherey Zerbian has picked up dramatically,” Kopczick said.

Thursday’s meeting will be centered on phase two of the study, which will examine mobility throughout Grundy, LaSalle and Kendall counties.

Phase three will provide a detailed five-year plan for stakeholders regarding the project, and the fourth and final phase will provide a 20-year plan.

“They’ll look into those other transportation opportunities. It will just boil down to feasibility on whether or not there’s enough public transportation available in these areas that it doesn’t require commuter, or that it would benefit and support the commuter rail,” Kopczick said.

LaSalle and Kendall counties also are hosting meetings this week regarding the study and its implications.

IF YOU GOWhat: Public meeting regarding Illinois Valley Public Transportation StudyWhere: Morris Municipal Services Building at 700 North Division St., Morris.When: Thursday, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

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