EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - East St. Louis' mayor and the area's clergy are making a pitch for an Amtrak station for the city as part of efforts to develop a high-speed Amtrak route between Chicago and St. Louis.
Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. and the United Congregations of Metro East will make their case for the station during an 11 a.m. news conference Thursday at East St. Louis' City Hall.
The state is working to connect Chicago and St. Louis with a 284-mile rail track capable of allowing trains to reach 110 mph.
Organizers of Thursday's news conference say petitions with more than 3,000 signatures supporting the East St. Louis station will be presented to the state's transportation secretary during a meeting July 1.
In February, St. Clair County committed $500,000 toward an East St. Louis station along the emerging high-speed route.
The railroad upgrade is expected to be completed in 2017. Officials say 75 percent of it should be done by next year.