In the first round of federal high-speed rail grants, Illinois didn't fair as well as state officials had hoped, netting only $1.1 billion to finance a commuter rail link between Chicago and St. Louis. But transit enthusiasts shouldn't despair, as there's plenty of room for optimism. The Midwest region took in $2.6 billion in total, money that will help build out connections from which Illinois will benefit. And it's not the last investment Washington is prepared to make. For example, Congress has already appropriated an additional $2.5 billion for high-speed rail in a 2010 omnibus spending bill. In a statement today, Brian Imus of Illinois PIRG correctly describes the grants as an "initial down payment." Now the state needs to follow through on the commitment.