Amtrak signs Illinois contract

first_imgAN AGREEMENT securing Amtrak’s continued operation of three Chicago ’corridor’ services was announced on January 14. Illinois Department of Transportation had been threatening to invite open tenders for the State House to St Louis, Illini to Carbondale and Illinois Zephyr to Quincy, in an effort to lower the state’s subsidy payments.Amtrak said that it had been extremely aggressive in its efforts to retain the franchise and has made a number of concessions to win what it called ’an innovative, multi-year package’. Subject to annual appropriations from the state legislature, Illinois will pay US$7m in 1997-98, US$7·55m in 1998-99 and US$7·95m in 1999-2000, with Amtrak bearing the risk of any losses. The operator has promised to enhance service levels, improve productivity and develop a pricing structure affordable to Illinois and other states wishing to support services.Amtrak will operate the six return trips under parameters outlined by Illinois DOT including timings, scheduling and minimum seating capacity on each train. Food service must also be provided. Penalties will be payable if a train departs from an originating point more than 30min late or if departures from points of origin are less than 99% on time annually.last_img read more

Syracuse basketball opponent preview: What to know about Boston College

first_img Published on January 11, 2016 at 3:39 pm Contact Jesse: | @dougherty_jesse Facebook Twitter Google+ There are four Atlantic Coast Conference teams that remain winless since the start of conference play, and two of them will meet in the Carrier Dome at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.Syracuse (10-7, 0-4 ACC) hosts a lowly Boston College team (7-8, 0-2) that provides a very realistic shot at snapping its four-game conference losing streak. After hosting the Eagles, SU will travel to North Carolina for tough games against Wake Forest and No. 9 Duke.A very winnable game is in front of the Orange before that trip, and here’s what you need to know about Boston College heading into the matchup.All-time series: 43-24 in Syracuse’s favor.Last time they played: The Orange beat the Eagles, 70-56, last February in Chestnut Hill to sweep the season series. SU was led by 21 points by Michael Gbinije, who made 8-of-11 shots. Kaleb Joseph also had the best game of his freshman season, scoring 14 points while shooting 7-for-7 from the field. Boston College was paced by a combined 35 points by Olivier Hanlan and Aaron Brown, but no other player scored in double-figures.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBoston College report: Eagles head coach Jim Christian has six freshmen playing 9.7 or more minutes per game, three of which have been in his starting lineup. The inexperience — with college basketball and playing with one another — has shown so far this season, as BC has suffered questionable losses to Massachusetts Lowell and Santa Clara, and lost to Duke by 17 and Notre Dame by 28 in its first two ACC contests. The Eagles rank 316th out of 351 Division I teams in adjusted offensive efficiency, per, with the offense relying on senior guard Eli Carter (team-leading 17 points per game) and freshman guard Jerome Robinson (12.3 points per game). Seven-foot center Dennis Clifford is in his second season playing starter minutes and is averaging 9.5 points and seven rebounds a contest. The Eagles’ biggest problem is that they haven’t shot well but have rooted their offense on the perimeter. On the season, 33.5 of Boston College’s total points have come from 3 (78th highest clip in the country) but its only shooting 33.1 percent, which ranks 213th nationally. It is no surprise that Boston College hasn’t scored more than 70 points in any of its eight losses.How Syracuse beats Boston College: The Orange can coast to its first ACC win of the season if it minimizes its mistakes. BC doesn’t force turnovers at a particularly high rate, but Syracuse can only help the Eagles get high-percentage shots if it’s sloppy with the basketball. Otherwise, Boston College doesn’t shoot well and the SU zone won’t be too threatened by any player outside of Carter. The Orange has mostly done well locating and defending high-scoring guards like Carter this season — namely Georgetown’s D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and North Carolina’s Marcus Paige — and this game will come down to how well Syracuse can limit BC’s “manageable” scoring opportunities. On the other end of the floor, SU should see if it’s shooting well early but commit to driving the ball if 3s aren’t falling. The Orange has stayed committed to perimeter shots, even when its gone cold, throughout this season. But Boston College is one of the few teams left on Syracuse’s schedule that it can exploit inside, and it should take it advantage while it can.Statistic to know: Carter is used on 33.4 percent of BC’s possessions, which is the ninth highest player usage rate in the country according to Kenpom. He also takes 34.1 of the Eagles’ field goal attempts while he’s on the floor, which is the 16th highest mark in the country. Just about everything Boston College does runs through him, similar to Hanlan from a year ago, and SU needs to be aware of where he is at all times.Player to watch: After Carter, freshman forward A.J. Turner is BC’s most shot-happy player from the perimeter. The 6-foot-7 freshman, who roomed with Syracuse forward Tyler Lydon at New Hampton Academy, has taken 60 3s this season, has made just 28.3 percent of them and is scoring 6.5 points in 27.4 minutes per game. But if the Orange focuses too hard on Carter and Robinson, Turner is a candidate to burn the zone from deep if he hits one or two early in the game. With the Eagles being an evident underdog, it would only fit the script for an unlikely scorer like Turner to pour in 3s while SU shut down his better-known teammates. Commentslast_img read more