Illinois mayors support $850 million to improve Union Station and build capacity for train service

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

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Amtrak’s proposed $850 million Chicago Hub Improvement Program (CHIP) has received support from 56 mayors. If successful, Amtrak would use funds from a federal Mega Grant to improve Chicago Union Station, create more routes into the city, and open a variety of new service options.

“I am proud to join dozens of regional mayors in support of this transformative project for transportation in the Midwest,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “This investment in improved train services will give Chicago residents and visitors convenient, safe, and modernized travel options while reducing our carbon footprint.

“It will also lay the foundation for a more equitable transportation network, giving Illinois residents from all walks of life access to the amenities and opportunities found in our great city and region.”

CHIP would modernize and create a new access to Union Station and prepare for future improvements, such as direct access to intercity trains at O’Hare and McCormick Place.

“Our region has wonderful colleges, thriving towns and cities, innovative businesses, and great people. The missing link is a network of fast, safe, and affordable trains connecting them. CHIP would provide a first, foundational step toward implementing this vision,” said Rick Harnish, executive director of the Chicago-based High Speed Rail Alliance.

Mayors from cities across Illinois signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Federal Railroad Administration administrator Amit Bose — along with mayors in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Montana and Ohio.

A decision on the CHIP application is expected before the end of the year. For more information about CHIP (formerly known as Chicago Access), please see the resources  provided by Joe Schacter, Amtrak Senior Manager for State Corridors.

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